I don't think I actually read this, just a summary of it. There's a story where either children or teenagers are assigned to groups / gangs / cliques. I think the idea was to reduce violence or bullying because everyone had a group that would defend them. I'm pretty sure it was science fiction set in the near future. It might have been a novel or short story, but I'm pretty sure it was some form of literature.

Details in response to Answers / Comments:

  • The groups were small, small enough for everyone in a group to know each other.
  • This was an intentional organization of society, it didn't arise naturally.
  • The groups were formed specifically for the social benefits of group membership.
  • I'm pretty sure this was written before 2010, possibly a lot earlier.
  • It may have been city-scale, not worldwide, that this system was used.
  • It was not any of the stories listed here: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TrueCompanions/Literature
  • Can you recall any other details about this? There’s a decent chance that this description matches a variety of works.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 7:52
  • Not really. Just that this was an intentional organization of the society (possibly city-scale), rather than something that naturally happened. It's not listed on tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TrueCompanions/Literature, if that helps eliminate possibilities. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 8:05
  • Do you remember when you read the summary? Was it in a magazine, on Goodreads, etc.? Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 13:15
  • It would have been on the internet, probably Wikipedia. I think it would have been before the YA craze of the 2010s. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 16:36
  • By which I mean the period starting with Twilight where I noticed a lot of books being marketed as YA. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 17:15

3 Answers 3


This sounds like Children of Tomorrow by A E van Vogt. You're right about "a lot earlier" - it was published in 1970.

The gangs were called "Outfits", and their purpose went much further than the social advantages of being in a group. They took an active role in law enforcement, because the men to whom this duty would normally fall had left Earth to fight a war against hostile aliens with whom humans had come into conflict.


The sorting into groups part sounds like The Giver, but that wasn't a gang sort of thing, it was because there was very little choice. It was written in the mid-late 90s, I think, so it'd be a lot earlier than 2010. Everyone in each age group knew each other, though I don't remember it being for social benefits. It was more like the benefits the community gained from everyone being in the place they were seen as most capable of being in. Not sure if this is what you're thinking of, though.

  • It's definitely not The Giver. In the Giver people are assigned jobs and families, not social groups. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 3:16

So many possibilities. Divergent, for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergent_(novel) (both in books and movies form)

  • In the story I'm thinking of, it was small groups, small enough for the people to all know each other. I'm pretty sure it was also a lot earlier than Divergent. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 16:32
  • 2
    You might find this page useful for future reference: more details make ID answers (and all other answers) more useful Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 21:34
  • Oh, yeah, I watched Divergent a long time ago, and I knew it fit the bill, just couldn't number any decent concrete examples, or resume it on my own. The details given by OP were so simple, that I couldn't just name any details over "there were groups/factions split by personality, and each group would do one function in society".
    – CyberClaw
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 9:44
  • Also, Murenger, are you sure it's not Divergent? Each group has a role, it's city-wide, everyone seems to know (mostly) everyone else, there would be a group that would work as military / police, which were mostly parkeur kids. There was an intelectual group, which governed. There was a honest group, of trustworthy people, and a peaceful group of pushovers (lol).
    – CyberClaw
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 9:48
  • Yes, I'm sure. These groups were small. They weren't factions, more like an assigned small group of friends. And the purpose of dividing them this way was so that they would have friends, not to fill specific roles in society. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:31

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