Happy Monday, everyone!
Today, we're joining the blog tour for The First Rule of Punk, the debut novel by Celia C. Pérez. Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) is a young twelve-year-old who loves all things punk, and has just recently moved to Chicago.
Rather than take the move sitting down, Malú digs deep into her love of punk and brings some innovative personality and ideas to her new environment.
Read on for more!
Published August 22nd 2017 by Viking
Format read: ARC via publisher
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 (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.
The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!
Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.
Debut author Celia C. Pérez introduces us to Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her), a bright, opinionated twelve-year-old who is being forced to move from Florida to Chicago. She's dejected about the move at first, but then decides to bring her punk-loving ideals, into a school that doesn't seem to want them. With some help from friends, a few clever ideas, Malú bucks the system in the only way that she can...
There are so many things to love about The First Rule of Punk, I'm almost not sure where to begin. But first things first - Malú is a character that many a young reader can relate to. She's mixed-race, and her struggles of wanting to be more one thing than the other - spurned on by parental disapproval - is something that I believe that many a young reader can understand.
While Malú doesn't always handle her struggles in the most mature of ways, Perez is also careful to emphasize the importance of letting Malú make her own mistakes, and learning from them. Her mom lets her dress however she wants, with the understanding that there may be ramifications with the school dress code. Similarly, when Malú decides to start a band, a fellow bandmember's mother is willing to let Malú tell her mom about the band in her own time, with the understanding that it has to be done.
Though it's a minor thing, it really emphasizes the idea that Malú's at an age where the growing pains of being a teen are emphasized, and recognition of the fact will likely be appreciated by readers both young and old. This is nicely reflected in Malú's own eventual recognition of how she's grown following the move to Chicago.
Bottom line: The First Rule of Punk is a vibrant reminder of why diverse stories are so important for fiction. Because even if Malú's background and family are different than my own, her journey is not. There is a universality to the journey of balancing cultures and finding one's self, which makes this book a must-read in my opinion.
Highly recommend, full stop.
Check out the rest of the tour!
August 21 – Books 4 Your Kids – Review
August 22 – Here’s to Happy Endings – The First Rule of Punk Style Board
August 23 – Boricuan Bookworms – Review & Mini Zine
August 24 – Teachers Who Read – Review
August 25 – Margie’s Must Reads – Author Q&A
August 28 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Review
August 29 – The Novel Hermit – Review
August 30 – Teen Librarian Toolbox – Review
August 31 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
September 1 – The YA Book Traveler – Review
About the author:
Celia C. Pérez has been making zines inspired by punk and her love of writing for longer than some of you have been alive. Her favorite zine supplies are a long-arm stapler, glue sticks, and watercolor pencils. She still listens to punk music, and she’ll never stop picking cilantro out of her food at restaurants. Originally from Miami, Florida, Celia lives in Chicago with her family and works as a community college librarian. She owns two sets of worry dolls because you can never have too many. The First Rule of Punk is her first book for young readers.