Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas is a romance novel like no other I’ve read before. And I am still unsure if that is a good or a bad thing…
This a story of two teenagers, both angsty, misunderstood and very much in love. For nearly seven years Ryen and Misha have been communicating through letters. Everything suddenly changes when they meet for the first time. The events that follow aren’t easily explained.
This is a true coming of age story. We follow the tale of two kids being faced with life-changing circumstances that change their lives forever.
I must admit that for the first quarter of the book I considered dnfing it many times. The story was dragging. The part of the first chapter when we met Annie was simply to long. I didn’t find it engaging. Having finished the book I understand the importance of that dialogue, however, that doesn’t change my opinion. I simply don’t care about the character.
I did like, however, the way Penelope Douglas created realistically flawed characters. Ryen was brilliantly fleshed out, multidimensional. And Misha’s personality was twisted in a way that suited his life experiences. My appreciation of the character development stops there. I didn’t like the characters themselves. I don’t have the need to like the characters and I understand that sometimes people are simply unlikable. I don’t mention this as criticism, but simply as personal preference.
“We’re all ugly, Ryen. The only difference is, some hide it and some wear it.”
“You want to be loved without risking consequence, so you reach out to get the attention you need while enjoying the luxury of taking no responsibility for those words.”
As in many romance novels there was one thing that occurred. The sex scenes were, in my opinion, as realistic as possible. However, there is one particular scene that made me a bit uncomfortable. I understand that “ambiguous” consent isn’t uncommon in romance novels. This one particular scene I believe floats somewhere between “ambiguous” consent and non-consentual sex. I won’t be say anything else about it since I try to keep my reviews spoiler-free. If you wish, you can contact me to discuss it further.
I enjoy Douglas’ writing very much. It is very fluid and unforced. The descriptions are just the right length and enjoyable to read. Also, I find Douglas’ capability to create a realistic plot-twist incredible. Even though I predicted some of them I still enjoyed them very much.
“Anything goes when everyone knows
Where do you hide when their highs are your lows?
So much, so hard, so long, so tired,
Let them eat until you’re ground into nothing.
Don’t you worry your glossy little lips,
What they savor ‘ventually loses its flavor.
I wanna lick, while you still taste like you.”
Oh, the ending. I think it cost this book half a star if not a whole star. I disliked it a lot. It was a weak ending to a otherwise solid book. I found it so unrealistic and idyllic I cringed. I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t a happily-ever-after a teenager dreams of!
That’s everything I have to say about this book. I was expecting so much more so I can easily say I’m disappointed. I was entertained, but this time it wasn’t enough.