BOOK REVIEW: Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

BOOK REVIEW: Punk 57 by Penelope DouglasPunk 57 by Penelope Douglas
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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“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 provided something I hadn’t realized I had been missing: Fun. Yes, I’ve read plenty of fun books and yes, believe it or not, I’ve read a fair share of hot, steamy books. But I can admit one thing, for sure: Not for a long time have I found a more satisfying mix of sexy, fun, and smoldering hot hate

It may come as a surprise to many of you that I used to read so many of these books it was almost exhausting. I got to the point where it became mundane, meaningless, and I felt like I was trapped in a pretty bad book funk. And I was-that’s the problem.

Eventually we all have to weigh what we want more: wanting back what we had or wanting what could be. To stay or to risk everything to move forward.

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And, because of this problem, I really don’t let myself indulge in the finer trashy books in life. I don’t normally miss them, either, if I’m being honest. But there comes a time when you’re just in the mood for something hot, angsty, and completely antagonistic you’d go so far as to search into your old roots. And, it just so happens, I have a friend who knows me about as well as anyone….and she specializes in smut, the little tart.

So, after a long week in NC where I was having the best time ever, relaxing and truly enjoying myself, but not finding the book to match my mood, I figured out what I was craving: Angst. All the books I had targeted seemed like they might have angst, but they weren’t hitting that perfect spot. So, when I finally connected the dots that that was exactly what I craved, I thought of none other than my lovely, smut-loving friend, Pea.

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Which, as you can all see…led me to my first five star read of 2017. A great start, if you ask me. Bold, daring, antagonistic, and even with a bit of moral ambiguity, this book touched on everything I had been aching for since The Hating Game.

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Punk 57 isn’t necessarily a new formula, I don’t imagine, but it certainly felt new. Two 7 year friends who were accidentally made pen pals in the fifth grade continue to write to one another long after the school year ends. They have rules to never exchange phone numbers, to never look each other up, to keep things as they have always been.

Masen just makes everything seem smaller. Like I have a new perspective. He’s becoming a part of my heart, and I feel good when he’s around. Almost like none of my fears matter as long he’s there.

But, as they grow older, they become each other’s crutch. They begin to secretly (or not so secretly?) fall for one another, having been each other’s sounding board for so long. And as they begin to near the end of High School, something happens that will irrevocably change their lives…even if only one of them knows about it. And, after all these years, they both finally want to see what the other is like in real life…but what if it changes everything?

Fat tears spill over, and I feel a weight on my shoulders. It’s not Trey. It’s not Lyla. It’s me. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be.

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I’ll admit that I didn’t know what I would think of this book-I’ve always been fond of the old Penelope Douglas. I mean, come on, Bully??? I ate that shit up!!! But I’ve heard some things over the years that deterred me from really following up on her work, perhaps hiding from the progressive approach she had been taking a path towards. But I’ve never forgotten, never stopped watching, and always kept tabs with H, making sure to not let any hidden gems slip through my fingers-and here we are, three years later…And I’m already like a junkie ready for my next fix.

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I’ll admit this wasn’t without its flaws. I even was going to mention them…but why taint what I thought was a pretty addicting book? I don’t want to be negative, I just want to focus on the positive, which is how I’m going to end this review-with why this book was so unflinchingly addicting.

I may have mentioned before that they wanted to meet each other-But what happens if they meet and see its all been a lie? That they aren’t truly made for one another and after all these years, falling in love with one another is all a big fat waste?

I learned a long time ago that you don’t need to reveal everything inside of you to the people around you. They like to judge, and I’m happier when they don’t. Some things stay hidden.

By far the best part of this book is when Misha decides that its all been a lie-that Ryen is a fake, a phoney, and nothing at all like she is in her letters. When he realizes this, sees he has fallen for a girl that is all smoke and mirrors, as fake as a person can be, he snaps. He immediately hates her. How could she be so different than that beautiful girl (on the inside) he had been talking to all these years?

I know him very little, but after every encounter, I feel like I know him less.

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What follows is him taunting her, berating her, trying to show her she is better than she acts-that this facade she is putting out there for the world to see makes her no better than the trash she hangs out with. But by far the best part of the novel…is that she has no idea why the hot new guy hates her so quickly when the rest of the school practically worships her. That’s right-The best part of this book is that she has no idea that the new guy who seemingly hates her for no reason is her best friend, the guy she compares all other guys to, the one she loves, and the one she cares about most in the world.

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Fucked up, right?? But oh so perfectly perfect. Need I say more? I don’t think so. For all it’s minor errors and total lack of believability (I mean…a principle would let this shit go on? I hardly think so), it was exactly what I needed. So, maybe its for you, maybe it isn’t….but I’ll tell you one thing-It was hot as hell. ‘Nuff said.

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  1. AngelErin

    Yey! I’m glad this one was such a fun read for you. Sometimes I love indulging in books like that. Especially in between longer or more in depth reads. This book sounds great. 😀
    AngelErin recently posted…Difficult Women By: Roxane Gay ReviewMy Profile

  2. Samantha

    I have heard so many good things about this book. And you are totally right about Bully! I ate that shit up, too! I just don’t want to get into this book until I am in the right mood for angst. Great review!
    Samantha recently posted…Dirty Money by Jessica Clare: ReviewMy Profile

  3. Raven

    Great Review! I’m looking forward to read this book and your review has got me more excited! 😀
    Raven recently posted…Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff [Review]My Profile

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