“We’re all ugly, Ryen. The only difference is, some hide it and some wear it.”


“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.

I picked up this book because I had already read a series by Penelope Douglas, the Fall Away series. I enjoyed her writing, the plots she created, and ultimately her characters. So when I saw that she had written another book outside of that series I decided that I needed to read it. The premise sounded extremely promising and the characters sounded right up my alley…..what could go wrong? Famous last words, eh? I didn’t hate this book, I promise. I actually enjoyed most of it! But there were just a couple things that rubbed me the wrong way, though that’s probably more of being a personal preference than there being something actually wrong with Douglas’ writing, who knows? Alrighty then, let’s get down to it!


  • I 100% truly loved the premise for the plot. I mean, how cute is it to have these little 11 year old kids be pen pals and then see them continually keep in touch over 7 years? It’s pretty heartwarming to see these two become so important to each other and ultimately growing into best friends. I like the whole pen pal idea because it allows Misha and Ryen to know each other on levels beyond the physical one. They decided not to meet or find each other on social media because it could ruin what they have and I admire that. I’m also a sucker for the childhood-friends-to-lovers trope so that made me happy.
  • As I mentioned earlier, I love Penelope Douglas’ writing. I love her style, the way she creates a distinct voice for both Misha and Ryen, and the way she uses various tropes in her books. There’s a pretty important message that readers should be taking away from this read and it’s something that Douglas even mentions in her Author’s Notes. To me, that shows how much she cares about the issue and how much thought she puts into her words. I’m not saying she’s the first author to ever do this, I’m just acknowledging a good thing. Honestly, it just makes me respect her for a lot more than the stories she creates.
  • I actually ended up loving Ryen a lot. I felt like I understood a lot of her problems and insecurities and…..I was about to say that I wouldn’t have gone to the same extremes to get people to like me but I kinda did. She feels like she needs to put on this persona or pretend to be something she’s not because of the way kids treated her when she was younger or to protect herself from further ridicule for liking what she likes. We all do that, but some of us more than others. We don’t want to be embarrassed for our hobbies so we pretend that they’re stupid and make fun of others that do like them to protect ourselves. I do it, Ryen does it, we all do it. I really like that Douglas made this central to Ryen’s story.


  • As much as I liked Misha and his bad boy persona, which we all know is my kryptonite (oh, you didn’t know that? Don’t worry, I’ll talk about it soon), he pissed me off a fair bit. It’s not the lying under a fake name or pretending he doesn’t know Ryen WHEN HE CLEARLY KNOWS WHO SHE IS. It’s the fact that when he saw Ryen for the first time at that party his immediate reaction was: she’s pretty…..she lied to me…..I hate her. Like buddy, what are you doing????? You can’t hate a girl because she doesn’t look like the image you created in your head! Girls don’t work that way! Just because you thought she would be more nerdy looking based on her interests but is actually super pretty is not a good enough reason to hate her. That just bothered me a lot. Girls already have it hard enough in this world, we don’t need your added nonsense.
  • Trey’s character was just so unbelievably annoying and unnecessary and I’m glad he got what he deserved. He’s gross.


  • The overall takeaway from Ryen’s story is more important than what Misha thinks of her. Just don’t decide to hate a girl because she doesn’t match your mental image of her. It’s possible to be have a great personality AND be pretty, boys!

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF



Title: Punk 57
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Pages: 371 (eBook)

What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!


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