Every once in a while a book comes along that makes such a huge impact on me that I know I’ll read it again and again, its characters and message staying with me for days, weeks, months to come. Punk 57 does this and more.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought this, I just knew everyone was reading it. As I fluctuate through book slumps often, I was looking for something to pull me out of my latest one. Ten hours later, the last page turned, my slump is gone, my heart is pounding, and for the first time EVER I sort of wish I was back in high school with Penelope Douglas’s words close to my heart so I could be me instead of who I thought others wanted me to be.
The characters in this book are memorable, but it’s Ryen who stands out and makes the biggest impact. Though the book is told in alternating, 1st person POV, this really feels like Ryen’s story. Misha feels almost complete, even as the book begins, but it’s Ryen that grabs a hold of you, screaming out for help and for someone to actually see her, to see past the ugly person she presents to the world. She’s every one of us, whether we were the popular kid, the outsider, or those that just operated under the radar. As Misha challenges her, demanding the true Ryen emerge, the reader is left with the sense that we can all do better if we just be ourselves.
While Misha felt complete to me, it doesn’t diminish his story in the least. Most of the surprises of Punk 57 are his and even when you begin to suspect the twists and turns, the anticipation of revelation doesn’t go away. And, while he frequently serves as the catalyst for Ryen’s character development, his heartache and sense of abandonment stand alone and are palpable. Making this book even better is the absolute chemistry between these two characters who sizzle from their first meeting.
In the society we live in, rife with bullying, this is an important book. In a time when people play off other’s fears to make themselves feel better, this should be required reading. Punk 57 delves straight into the dangerous emotional landscape that has existed in high school forever and gives a sense of hope that you’re not alone.
*Before you run out and buy this for your teenager, know that there’s some pretty hot sex in Punk 57. Though it takes place in a high school environment and is about high schoolers, the very adult sexual encounters are not reflective of this.*
5 Stars for Punk 57. Heat level: 4
Punk 57 was published in October 2016 by Penelope Douglas.
About the author:
Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her books have been translated into ten languages and include the Fall Away Series (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, and Aflame), as well as Corrupt and Misconduct. Her New Adult romance, Punk 57, will release in October 2016 and Next to Never (A Fall Away Novella) is coming January 2017.
She dresses for autumn year round, loves anything lemon flavored, and shops at Target almost daily. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their daughter.