Sunday, November 20, 2016

punk 57

Do you ever read a book and somewhere along the way things go terribly wrong? For me, that is what happened with the book Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas.

You might be asking yourself, "Why did you you read a book by Penelope Douglas? You hated the last book you read by her? You even wrote a review stating the reasons.

The answer is simple, I have this (soon to be altered) habit of NOT paying attention to the author name when I pick up a book.

I did not see the similarities between this Punk 57 and Corrupt until much later. Both stories have a bunch of high schoolers acting petty and living very adult lives. Though in Punk 57, it did not bother me within the context of the story.

This plot revolves around Misha and Ryen, two penpals taat have sent letters for years because of a gender specific name mixup. After these years of connection Misha's letters stop sending Ryen into a private tailspin. She doesn't know that Misha is going through a tailspin of his own .This is where the story begins to fail for me.

Misha decides to enroll in Ryen's school as Mason Laurent. With the magics of money he falsifies his documents. Near the end of the story, you find out his justifications for this. But they seem rushed, confused, and implausible. It would have made more sense if Misha was forced in someway to finish high school. Or maybe even have a mystery where he had to hide his identity to find answers. Or perhaps it could have been that Misha had a breakdown, was struggling with mental illness or drug addiction and returned to school as part of his treatment. Or anything else to have his presence actually viable.

Ryen is not a loveable character. That is needed in the story. She has to be written that way, so that the reader hopes that Misha can get through to her. The reader is meant to be frustrated with her and demand (like Misha does) that she be the person underneath it all. They have this in their shared character flaws. Misha is misguided and angry. His actions are propelled by his fears. This is what truly connected them.

I would complain about this story not actually being about young people. Though I cannot judge, as I lived a very free life as a teenager. I also could complain about Misha and Ryen wanting to keep their relationship anonymous. But, again I have my own long term anonymous relationships. I could complain about the gratuitous sex. Then again, it made a weird kind of sense to me. People that are angry and confused often act on their more animalistic drives. My complaint is that A LOT of the book felt like an afterthought -- the "punk" side story, the ending, some of the character choices...which are all important parts of the book. 

The sad part? I would have loved the book if it were executed better.

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