Jackie's Reviews > Punkzilla

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
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Dec 23, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: coming-of-age, death, grief, identity, homelessness, runaways, ya-fiction, written-in-letter-form, drugs, printz-honor-book
Read in December, 2009

Jamie, aka Punkzilla, 14 is a runaway on a mission. He needs to get from Portland, Oregon to Memphis, Tennessee before his 27 year-old brother, Peter dies from cancer. Jamie's dad, Major, a military minded father, and his mother have created a home life full of strict and unreasonable rules. After they send him to a military school, Punkzilla escapes and hits the road, unaware of his brother's cancer at this time. When he hears from Peter, he finds out that Peter is sick. Trying desperately to get to Memphis, he meets many colorful, odd, and shady characters. Sometimes dangerous, sometimes sexually abusive, sometimes kind, these road-weary travelers eventually get Jamie to his destination. He finds Peter in hospice, close to death, and unconscious. Jorge, Peter's boyfriend is there to console and help Jamie deal with his grief and the guilt brought on by not getting to Peter before the end.

A sobering look at a teenager's turmoil, especially one with a dysfunctional family. Jamie spirals into the depths of drugs, homelessness, and abuse. A coming-of-age story filled with hopelessness.....that which Jamie may never pull out of.
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