Janet's Reviews > Punkzilla

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
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's review
Aug 12, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: teen-fiction
Read from July 13 to August 12, 2010

I usually enjoy darker, unconventional teen stories, but this one left me flat and cold. The stream of conscious rambling letters detailing the strange cast of characters the boy meets on his journey to see his dying brother were boring and devoid of emotion--a serious turn off for me, not even disturbing in the way I think they are meant to be. I muddled my way to the end but was left completely unsatisfied. As an aside, I saw the awesome speech that Adam Rapp made after winning the Printz Honor and had such high hopes--clearly his intent was a good one. For me, the execution just didn't match.

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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elissa Oh no! So sorry you didn't like this! It was one of my very favorite books last year. Rapp made me cry with his Printz honor acceptance speech about how this story came to him...

Janet I wondered if you would comment! I saw that it was one of your faves, and I soooo wanted to like this, as I too sooo loved his speech. But when you dread picking up a book and get annoyed once you start reading, you know you just don't like it!

elissa Yes, annoying is definitely NOT a good quality in a book! I guess it just wasn't the right book for you right now (or maybe ever!). I know another YA librarian who loved it, too, but it's definitely not one for everybody!

Janet Most reviews I read are positive. Those who didn't like it did so because they thought it was too harsh for the age, etc. I'm not in that camp--I think teens are exposed to the harshness of real life pretty early on their own without the help of any book! I would have responded to this story so much more positively if it had resonated with me emotionally. As it stands, I did not relate to (or appreciate) this boy calling people pervs and skeevs and acting all tough as if his existence on the road was not hard and getting to him. I wanted to see some cracks, let me in.

elissa Oh, I definitely saw the cracks in him, and all the posturing basically AS the cracks, if that makes sense. He had some weird ideas, because he's a kid, and he grew up in a weird way. It completely resonated with me emotionally, but I can see how if it didn't, it wouldn't work at all! Did you get to listen to or watch his speech online?

Janet I watched his speech online--it was what prompted me to want to read the book. I also have an adult title by him at home that I'll attempt. And yes, of course the posturing was the cracks, but it just made me not like him--even the toughest kids in the bronx showed more emotion! Maybe it's simply the timing of when I read it; at another time I might totally have loved him and loved the story.

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