April Helms's Reviews > Punkzilla

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
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's review
Feb 07, 2012

did not like it
Read in February, 2012

I really didn't care for this book at all. I will admit, the writing style is good. It's stream of conscious, but still easy to follow. It's also short (a good thing because another 40-50 pages I'm not sure I would have bothered finishing it.) But the biggest problem I have with it is that the main character, 14-year-old Jamie (aka Punkzilla) isn't all that likeable. I understand this is YA lit, and the protagonists aren't supposed to be angels. That's fine. I don't mind controversial material if there's a point to it. And I like the honesty a lot of the modern YA novels convey. But to me, Jamie is little more than a loathsome little cockroach with few redeeming qualities. A story portraying its characters with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs... that's one thing. But at one point, early on, Jamie describes how he knocks out people in the local park to steal their iPods and other items. He describes who he targets, and shows little remorse for it. Later in the story, he punches a woman and cusses her out, with little provocation. Again, no remorse. No punishment. That crosses a line with me. What's worse is his older brother's seeming "ha ha, boys will be boys" attitude to his younger brother's confessions. Yikes. We're not talking about getting a candy bar at the local drug store on the five finger discount. We're talking assault and battery. At any rate, the premise of the story is that Jamie has found out his older brother is dying of cancer so he goes on a cross-country quest to get to him before the end. Along the way he meets an assorted allotment of characters, some kind to him, some creepy.

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