Title: Punk 57
Author: Penelope Douglas
Released: October 21, 2016
Favorite quote: “You’ll find your tribe.”
The bookstagram community is, admittedly, one of the main places on the internet where I go to find new reads. Punk 57 was one of those jewel bookstagram finds that I put on my TBR for whenever I had time. A couple nights ago, though, I was in the mood to read, but only that. Everyone gets in those moods, right? The ones that make you a lazy little bump on the bed not wanting to do anything except read one specific thing? Well, thanks to my Kindle, I’m able to indulge in those moods much more often now. I grabbed my Kindle, bought the book, and started reading until I finished the whole thing about 3-4 hours later – I didn’t keep track.
My reaction? Well… It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Douglas’ Punk 57 had a much darker atmosphere that bordered on uncomfortable at times. The high school that’s depicted in the novel was the stereotypical “popular kids rule and everyone else’s lives suck” type of high school. Now, imagine that type of high school but every horrifying aspect of it was amplified so loudly through the main characters’ points of view that it became too unrealistic. On one hand, the way that the students, relationships, hook-up culture, and reactions were portrayed could have been because the two main characters viewed them as so perverse and offensive that they became worse in their minds that they actually were. On the other hand, though, it could just be an over-dramatized high school situation that shows only the bad because that’s all that’s relevant to the novel, which would make it a bit unrealistic since it doesn’t show the whole scene surrounding them. The only time that I caught a glimpse of the “bigger picture” around them was when Ryen was giving swim lessons to young kids. That was the only time for me. Everything else just had the feeling of the-world-is-out-to-get-me.
Which isn’t a bad thing! No one picks up teenage high school romance novels with the expectation of reading the next Great Expectations. It’s sometimes nice to have the simple story laid out without all the world crushing down on it. However, I just wanted more from the novel. It was enjoyable – it really was! Just that’s all it was. I was intrigued by the idea of two pen pals finally meeting with the promise of a blossoming love story. In fact, here’s the blurb that I’d read that made me want to read it:
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?
Fuck 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.
It sounds like a cool concept, right? Yes! I still love the idea that Penelope Douglas created, but the execution was just lacking a more realistic atmosphere for me. It was a decent story of a young girl battling and discovering herself in a crowd that suppressed her individuality with the threat of condemnation.
Do I recommend it? This is a hard one. Okay… Let’s see. If you enjoy quick reads with a unique idea in a very modern society that has a darker feel and involves a bit of light smut, I recommend it. Again, I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t read it again. If you don’t enjoy the above, I definitely do not recommend this novel.