|Genre||Young adult fiction|
|Publisher||Delacorte Press/ Laurel-Leaf Library|
|Preceded by||Rumble Fish|
|Followed by||Taming the Star Runner and The Outsiders|
Tex is a novel by S. E. Hinton, published in 1979. It was adapted to the film in 1982, which starred Matt Dillon. The book (like Rumble Fish and That Was Then, This Is Now) takes place in the same universe as Hinton's first book The Outsiders, but in a rural town called Garyville, Oklahoma, a fictional suburb of Tulsa.
Tex and his older brother Mason live by themselves while their father tours the rodeo circuit. Tex is blissfully happy with his life. He likes simple things and taking it easy. Mason, on the other hand, must step into a parental role when their father is gone for five months touring rodeos. Their mother is dead, so it is just the two of them fighting to meet their financial obligations. These boys' lives are slowly being disrupted.
The book opens with Tex McCormick who is a 15-year-old who loves horses, his brother Mason, living in a small town and Jamie the girl next door. Tex is growing up mostly with Mason in a small country home. Their mother died years before and their father goes off for months at a time leaving Mace, a senior and a star basketball player and Tex at home. At the start of the book, Tex comes home to find the two brothers' horses sold. Negrito, Tex's horse, was considered a friend to Tex. However Mason had to sell the horses to guarantee Tex and himself would have enough to eat over the winter. This action by Mason sets Tex against his brother for most of the book.
But the McCormick brothers are not alone. Living in the significantly larger ranch house next door (about 0.5 mi (0.80 km)) are the Collinses, the family includes Mason's best friend Bob, Tex's best friend Johnny and the younger sister whom Tex loves, Jamie. The Collinses, however, are forbidden to see Mason and Tex because the patriarch of the Collins family, Cole, thinks they are a bad influence.
After a turn of events involving Tex and Mason's father, Tex runs away to the city with a family friend and eventually learns that just living life and staying with his brother is the best thing for him.
Tex McCormick: A fifteen-year-old boy. He has long golden brown hair that is the same color as his eyes and a scar over his right eyebrow from where Mason hit him. Tex has a chipped tooth and a bony face with dimples. He loves horses, especially his horse Negrito. He is a faithful, proud boy to Pop and his brother Mason. His best friend is Johnny Collins. His 17-year-old brother is Mason.
Mason McCormick: A seventeen-year-old boy, Pop's only biological child. He loves to fish, play basketball, and serves as a father figure to Tex. Mason is tall, fit and has black hair and brown eyes with a strong bone structure. Tex says he looks like "a proud hawk." (p. 86)
Jamie Collins: Johnny's younger sister. She has almost black hair and a reputation for being a mean person, hardly ever going a week without getting grounded or spanked. She uses threats to get her way and is sarcastic when she speaks to people. She is also controlling but flirty and believes passionately in women's rights.
Johnny Collins: Tex's best friend. They get in trouble a lot. He has jumpy blue eyes and honey blonde hair. The Collins is a rich family, unlike Tex and Mason. Johnny has a cycle, which can get them in trouble (for attempting to jump over the ditch) but yet help them at times (transportation to school instead of taking the bus).
Cole Collins: Strong, Father of Blackie, Charlie, Robert (Bob), Johnny, and Jamie Collins; married to Mona Collins. Has his kids call him and Mona by their first names, which is something that Tex finds strange. He is the epitome of a strict and controlling father, one that isn't afraid to spank his kids. When Johnny and Tex get drunk at Charlie's party, he goes to where the McCormick's live and blames Tex for getting Johnny drunk. After they get in trouble at school for gluing caps on the typewriter keys, Mason and Cole have an argument, and Mason ends up winning Cole's respect for him.
Bob Collins: Son of Cole. Brother of Jamie and Johnny. He is the Basketball star, second to Mason. Best friend of Mason.
Pop McCormick: Father of Mason. Always on the rodeo tour. Leaves Mason in charge of his wife's son Tex. Loves Tex even though he is the son of another man his wife cheated on him with. Gives Tex the idea of putting 'Caps' on the typewriter keys. Pop is the ex-husband of Clare McCormick, Tex's biological mother. Pop stays away from his family a lot because of the rodeo tour, forcing him to stay away for five months.
Lem Peters: Friend of the family had an argument with Mason towards the end of the book. He is immature.
Mrs. Johnson: Tex's principal. Tex constantly gets in trouble with her. Towards the end, she made a promise to Tex that she would give him a job of horse care after catching him messing with the school typewriters.
Cathy Carlson: Tex's English teacher. She is revealed to be the sister of M&M from That Was Then, This is Now as she shows up at Mark's funeral.
The Hitchhiker: A dangerous drug dealer who has killed several other people before kidnapping Tex and Mason. Tex gets the attention of a police officer and they shoot him dead. He is revealed to be Mark from That Was Then, This is Now after escaping from prison.
Mrs. Barnes: A typing teacher who works at Tex's school. She is played by Hinton in the film.
Kelly: An immature druggie. He acts up after a drug deal with Lem went wrong. He holds Tex hostage until Tex wrestles the gun out of his arms, but not before he shoots him on his side.
Negrito: Tex's horse until Mason sells him along with his horse Red. Tex tries to buy him back when Pop returns but fails. He was renamed as "Rowdy" in the film.
Clare McCormick: Tex's mother. She had a fight with Pop when Tex was 2 years old and walked out in the snow without her shoes on. Tex tried to stop her, but he couldn't reach the doorknob and she later died of pneumonia.
Red: Mason's horse until he sells him along with Negrito. He was renamed as "Toyota" in the film. Although he didn't appear in the film, Toyota is also the name of Rowdy's actor.