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The First Rule of Punk

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,500 ratings  ·  824 reviews
From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Perez, The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one's watching.

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school--you can't fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (Maria
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Julie It's not a graphic novel, nor is it illustrated the way Diary of a Wimpy Kid is illustrated (that is, frequent spot illustrations that show what is…moreIt's not a graphic novel, nor is it illustrated the way Diary of a Wimpy Kid is illustrated (that is, frequent spot illustrations that show what is happening in the story). The main character in The First Rule of Punk makes zines (handmade, collaged-and-hand-drawn journals that are sort of essays, sort of diary entries), and the zines she makes as she deals with the events in the book are included in the book. Some of her zines are informative and some are more personal, but they all add to the charm and voice of this book.(less)
Jacqueline 39, but some of them are very, very short

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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They don’t warn you in library school. They’ll tell you about all the cool children’s books you’ll get to read. They’ll stress how you’ll be able to make a difference in the lives of kids by introducing them to books they might never find on their own. They’ll talk about the glory of the profession, and rightly so. But they won’t tell you about Middle Grade Novel Burnout. It’s a killer, that one. You see, if you read too many middle grade novels in a given year, you begin to sense patterns that ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture, middle-grade
What a lively book.

This spunky heroine definitely reminded me of what it means to be young and passionate. (Can’t believe I need reminding—aah, university, what are you doing to me!?) When the principal tells her the punk makeup she's wearing is not welcome in the school, she finds new ways of showing her style.

Whenever someone tells her she can't do something, she tries twice as hard, instead of giving up. She reminded me of... me! I used to be seriously scared of getting into trouble at school
Brett Zeeb
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to read an advanced reader copy of this book. It helps when you are married to the author. Despite my obvious bias, this book is the bees' knees, the bomb-diggity, simply awesome. If you don't fall in love with Maria Luisa (Malu), the main character in this book, your heart just might be made of stone. Middle grade kids are going to love this book. Parents of those same kids are going love this book too.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
A realistic and captivating middle grade voice and a plot that moves along at a perfect pace. This story of identity explores being Mexican American, being punk, being torn between cultures and parents, transition, and discovering your "own patchwork quilt" you. Plus, Malú's zines woven in are awesome!
Marianne (Boricuan Bookworms)
Boricuan Bookworms- Book Reviews

The First Rule of Punk is a fun middle grade book about a Mexican-American girl who whose mother has relocated them to Chicago for a new job. I really liked a lot of things about Malú from the beginning, because it was completely relatable to me to see her struggling with her identity. She doesn’t want to be the perfect Mexican señorita her mother wants her to be, but instead wants to be punk like her dad.

Malú’s struggles really highlight the unrealistic
Book Riot Community
This debut middle grade novel by longtime zine-maker Celia C. Pérez is a touching story about punk loving Maria Luisa, who likes to be referred to as Malu. When she and her mother move to a new town and Malu starts a new middle school, she keeps reminding herself of the first rule of punk: be yourself. Unfortunately, Posada Middle School makes that hard to do with rules about dress code and an anti-punk principal. Readers will enjoy Malu’s wry sense of humor and relate to themes like fitting in ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Y'ALL. This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. Highly recommended to all girls rock campers, middle school misfits, zinesters, riot grrrls, and punks.
Being punk meant a lot of different things, just like being Mexican meant many things. Sometimes those things didn't seem to match. And that was okay because I'd discovered that maybe the first rule of punk was to make your own rules.

actual rating: 4.5

This is a really cute book about a punk girl with a Mexican mother and a White father who is trying to find her place in the world. It offers a really interesting look into some of the problems that mixed raced children might come across in
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fresh & fun story line; fantastic format with the zines included

Definitely a must have book for middle school libraries
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: by-and-about-poc
one of my favorite middle grade reads of the year. a funny but heartfelt story about finding your people, being yourself, taking pride in your heritage, and standing up for what you believe in
My eyes have been replaced with emoji hearts. That was a delight.
I couldn't get into this book. I'm so tired of traumatized kids because they are moving away! Especially one which is only for two years! In this age of online connection and smart phones, it simply isn't nearly as traumatic as it used to be. It would be one thing if the child were younger but this is a preteen. In addition, Malu (nickname for Mara Luisa) is in full rebellion against her part Hispanic heritage, as symbolized by her absolute hatred of cilantro. She loves making zines as a way of ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, arcs
The first rule about reading the book The First Rule of Punk is that you will LOVE it. This story has everything: emotion, wit, culture, intelligence, heart and a fantastic soundtrack (make a playlist might be rule 2). I can't wait to see the final artwork in the finished copy because I love Malú's zine so much. I learned a lot from reading this while still being reminded of my own childhood experiences. I am eagerly awaiting another book from Celia C. Pérez. This is my favorite middle grade ...more
Michelle Stimpson
I love everything about this book. Can not wait to share it with my middle school students. Wish I'd had it when I was in middle school. I'm off to make my own zine . . .
Sierra Cook
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
So this book was good, it was not amazing but 9-13 year olds would enjoy, it has a lot of cultural heritage talk, and what it means to be excepted in more than one cultural, and also to discover who you are within those cultures. Also the idea of taking to ones parents about all this to, has a huge play in this book.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Someone described this to me as "Moxie" (by Jennifer Mathieu) for middle grades, and I think that fits perfectly! It's a little more lighthearted than Moxie, but still packs a powerful message of standing up for your beliefs. It's fun, inspiring, and full of endearing, dynamic characters.
You're in for a fun ride if you pick up this book to read. I listened to the audio and loved the narrator, but will definitely need to flip through the hardcover to check out the zines.
I loved the mix of characters and enjoyed seeing Malu grow to appreciate her heritage and her mother although at times I wanted to give her a talking to! ;) The supporting cast of characters were a great bunch and I had fun learning more about the Hispanic culture of Chicago.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly adorable, original with a pure punk spirit. I loved this character and her journey to embrace her full self. And a subversive librarian? Perfection!
Ms. Yingling
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

When Malu's (Maria Luisa) mother gets a two year visiting professorship in Chicago, she has to leave her father and his record shop in Gainesville. Malu and her father love punk rock music, and her mother is not a fan, so Malu really wishes she could stay with her father. Even though she makes an impassioned plea in an artfully crafted zine, she is living in Chicago before she knows it. It's a fun, quirky neighborhood with lots of other Hispanic residents,
Cassie Thomas
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I think about where I live (south central Texas) and how hard it has been for me to find stories for my students that are mirrors into their lives in multiple ways, it was a struggle the last few years. The First Rule of Punk though BLEW me away. I was thinking about all of my past students and even future students who will relate to this in more ways than just the protagonists storyline. This is a book I will immediately preorder multiple copies of.

Malú is a young girl who feels that who
Monica Edinger
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this. Have now seen finished copy (with zines) and my opinion is as before --- a charmer.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow, do I ever love this book. The First Rule of Punk has heart, humor, spunk, and charm. And, of course, a radical and delightful punk-rock sensibility in the main character, Malú. This is a terrific story about a girl, Malú, who has to move from Miami to Chicago with her professor mom for two years, and is bummed, and wants to be punk rock about it (her dad, back in Miami, owns a record store) but finds it's hard to maintain a punk rock attitude all the time, especially when you're only 12 ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Malu is not happy that she has to move from Chicago to California. She hates abandoning her awesome dad, who runs a record shop and treats her like a person. She hates that she'll be alone with her mom, the "Super Mexican," who is trying to get Malu to behave more like a seniorita and less like a punky mcpunkerson. All Malu has are zines to help her cope. Until she discovers some fun kids at school and decides that embracing her half-Mexicanness and punk is the best way to shove it in ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Spoiler alert: the first rule of punk is to be yourself. Malú is a great protagonist - she isn't afraid to be different and fights for what she believes is right, but still has flaws and middle school doubts enough to make her realistic and relatable. Her twin loves of zines and punk rock are so fun, and it was great to see and learn about some Chicano culture through her mom (whom she calls "Super Mexican") and friends. Eight-page zines are scattered throughout the book, as well as punk and ...more
Mississippi Library Commission
Malú is unsure about moving to a new place, but all she has to remember to survive is the first rule of punk. Filled with three-dimensional characters and featuring peeks at Malú's zines, middle grade readers will devour this one whole!
Jeanie Phillips
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! A middle grades novel about identity that strikes all the right chords. Malu is figuring out who she is in the world as a Mexican American punk rocker. Perez keeps it real and fresh with interesting characters, especially her zine-making lead. Highly recommend!
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to start a Zine making club!
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pura BelPré Honoree, Celia C. Pérez writes a fast paced and fun story about Malú O'Neill-Morales, a bi-racial, Mexican-American, 12 year old punk who is struggling to live up to her professor mother's expectations and make friends in a new town, while being true to herself. Perfectly appropriate to upper ES, and middle school, this story is a quick read that will satisfy readers who enjoy a good underdog story.
Aliza Werner
I loved this middle grade debut by Celia Pérez! The main character is unique and full of heart. As she moves to Chicago with her mom, she finds new ways to follow the first rule of punk: be yourself. Malú's Mexican heritage sometimes feels removed from how she self identifies...a punk rocking, zine making, cilantro avoiding, vegetarian, but she learns that those two things don't need to be mutually exclusive.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
October book club book for school

This was a pretty fun book. I loved the references to punk music and having a female MC that is unique and spunky. I thought that at times the tension between Malu and her mom felt a bit forced, and I also thought that the plot slogged a bit in the middle. However, overall this was a good middle grades book, and I thought it was a good choice for our book club. 3.75 stars
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Celia C. Pérez is the author of The First Rule of Punk, a 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book. Celia is a longtime maker of zines inspired by her love of punk music and writing. Originally from Miami, Florida, Celia lives in Chicago with her family where she works as a community college librarian.
“wasn’t happy about it, but I couldn’t help smiling.” 0 likes
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