Author: Penelope Douglas
Published: October 21, 2016
Genre: New Adult Romance
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.
I’m always so excited for a new release from an author I love–and then equally sad when I’ve finished it. PUNK 57 was phenomenal! I absolutely loved everything about it!! It moved up as my favorite read of 2016! No one does New Adult Romance like Penelope Douglas. Like seriously. She has this kind of dark, mysterious style of writing that draws me in and doesn’t let go.
PUNK 57 is told from two different perspectives—Misha and Ryen. Two kids from neighboring towns who were mistakenly assigned to each other as pen pals for a 5th grade project. Seven years pass and they still continue exchanging letters. They share everything with each other—their likes, dislikes, dreams. They’re each other’s best friend, but have yet to meet or see what the other looks like–even though they both have this longing to do so. Ryen wants to put a face to the guy she fantasizes having all to herself, and Misha wants to meet the girl whose words inspire him.
“Seven years I’ve known her, but I’ve never seen her face. If I search her out now, there’s no going back.”
Misha is the lead singer of a band. His song writing is inspired through his letters from Ryen. And seven years later, after that first letter, at a party his band is throwing–he gets the chance to meet the beautiful girl by the name of Ryen. She has no idea that the guy she’s talking with is HER Misha. Sadly, and shortly after, something tragic happens and the letters from Misha stop.
“And then when I found out she was popular, not an outcast, and a cardboard cut-out, not at all original, I became angry. She led me to believe those things, and my muse was a lie.”
Three months later, with a personal agenda, Misha enrolls at Ryen’s school–under the name Masen Laurent, and not necessarily there for Ryen. However, he quickly learns Ryen is part of the total opposite crowd, she’s self-centered, mean, and a bully. Nothing like the girl from her letters. He decides to push her buttons and make her uncomfortable in hopes of finding the girl hidden behind the ugly layers. And even though they push and hate each other—there’s attraction and some crazy chemistry between them. We also learn the fear of being “alone” is at the root of all Ryen’s actions—or lack of. She was a complex character, and one I had a hard time liking at first. But with each layer Misha peeled back, she quickly grew into someone I could relate to.
“Longing, because I miss her. I miss talking to her as me.
Lust greater than I’ve ever known, because we’re like this, it’s the only time she softens and changes and gives me an inch, and it’s a need that’s in my head just as much as my body. It keeps me on my toes.”
There were some pretty “steamy” scenes throughout, so it’s definitely geared towards an 18 and over audience. However, PUNK 57 had a ton of positive lessons to be learned. It was a beautifully written story of love between two broken characters—them finding and accepting themselves and their situations together. It addressed the issue of bullying, and how it’s just not in our schools anymore because of social media. And the importance of not conforming and staying true to yourself. Plus, there were some pretty beloved characters from another book that made a surprise appearance!
“This is a big ass world, and when we leave our small towns, we’re going to find our tribe. If we don’t stay true to ourselves, how will they recognize us? Both of us, because you know we’re in the same tribe, right?”