Review: PUNK57 By Penelope Douglas


Pankhudi Prasad

“We were perfect together. Until we met.”

In fifth grade, Misha’s teacher set him up with pen pals from a different school. The teacher from the other school set him up with her student named Ryen, thinking Misha was a name that belonged to a girl. On the other hand, his teacher agreed because Ryen seemed like a boy’s name. But this mistake took a turn for the best. Soon they were bickering like an old couple about the most random topics. Which is the best take-out pizza? Which is better, Apple or Android? Is Eminem the best rapper ever…? And now about to graduate, they were still each other’s best friends. 

But they had three rules…No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. 

They had a good thing going on, why ruin it? 

And even though they were close, they did not know each other.

Written by the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal’s bestselling author, Penelope Douglas, Punk57 this book’s synopsis makes it seem as if it would be a cute enemies-to-lovers. However, it was much more. Douglas based the main theme of the novel on finding oneself. Ryen is not a likable character. 

However, her transition into a self-accepting person helps her improve and become someone she is proud of, rather than a person whose true nature hides behind letters. Misha, on the other hand, does instead of hiding. He writes his accomplishments rather than what he wishes to do.

When they meet, their interactions are unexpected. Unlike how her “so-called” friends interact with her, Misha tells her like it is. He bullies her right back, which causes her to question her behavior, even her beliefs. This realization is what motivated her to change.  

However, there were some off-putting attributes. Such as how some scenes may be triggering to a few readers. The stalkerish behavior and breaking into another’s house were alarming. Moreover, there were also parts that made me question why these teenagers were behaving in that way. As a high school student, THAT is not how 14-18-year-olds behave. 

Even with those unlikable attributes, the characters, still, are relatable. And the story has many twists and turns that left me in awe (the bombshell at the end specifically). Nonetheless, each character is shocked in one way or another.  Overall, this book contained everything expected from a high school bully/romance story.