Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
Published by Penelope Douglas LLC on October 21, 2016
Narrator: Laurie Catherine Winkel
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
Available on KU at posting: Yes
"We were perfect together. Until we met."
I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.
In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.
It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…
And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.
Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.
We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?
Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?
F*ck it. I need to meet her.
I just don’t expect to hate what I find.
He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.
Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should've gotten his number or picture or something.
He could be gone forever.
Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.
Punk 57 follows the story of Misha and Ryen, two mismatched penfriends, throughout their final year of school. With the spotlight firmly focused on the social aspects of their lives, the setting crossed between YA and NA. The shenanigans they got up to added to the angst with more than a few steamy moments thrown in for good measure!
You don’t want to be alone in high school, and if you have friends—good ones or not—you have a little power. High school is like prison in that way. You can’t make it on your own.
Ryen had learnt to mask her insecurities and aligned herself with the shallow popular crowd in her class maintaining her popularity at the expense of vulnerable students was the price she was willing to pay. The insensitive behaviour of the popular crowd rapidly evolved into bullying. An aspect I hadn’t anticipated when I chose it to read it. With minimal adult interference, the way nastiness festered and was impossible to ignore.
Misha being a songwriter was pivotal to the plot. He definitely had the bad boy rocker persona going and his confidence portrayed him to be older than his peers. What was strange was that he came across as a full time musician rather than a student. His connection with the band was depicted through his song writing rather than performing, and while I love listening to the lyrics, the effect is lost on me when reading them.
Between the alternate PoVs and shrouded mystery, my ability to connect with the characters was a challenge. My major struggle was not knowing exactly what drove Misha, especially why he moved schools and lived where he did. The well paced writing style made up for the unnecessary mystery.
While I liked the premise of the story, I was left wanting more. I would have loved for the plot to have delved deeper into the family lives of each character. The emotional side to the romance was inline with my expectations for a YA/NA novel, but it could have been so much more. Despite wanting more, I am glad I read Punk 57. It was an enjoyable book that explored the challenges of acceptance in a thoughtful way.
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