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The First Rule of Punk
Cover of The First Rule of Punk
The First Rule of Punk
Borrow Borrow
From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Pérez, 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 (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle'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.
From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Pérez, 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 (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle'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.
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  • EPUB eBook
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    670
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

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Awards-
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 15, 2017
    Malu wants to be totally punk at her new middle school, but her Mexican-American mother would prefer she learn to be a proper senorita. Twelve-year-old Maria Luisa O'Neill-Morales, aka Malu, loves punk-rock music, hanging out at her father's indie record store, and making zines. She doesn't love moving from her home in Gainesville, Florida, to Chicago for her professor mother's two-year appointment at a university. Although she loves both of her amicably divorced parents, Malu--who favors Chuck Taylors and music T's--feels closer to her laid-back, artsy white father than her supportive but critical academic mother, whom she calls "SuperMexican." At Malu's new majority-Latino school, she quickly makes an enemy of beautiful Selena, who calls her a "coconut" (brown on the outside, white on the inside) and warns her about falling in with the class "weirdos." Malu does befriend the school misfits (one activist white girl and two fellow "coconuts") and enlists them to form a band to play a punk song at the Fall Fiesta. Middle-grade readers will appreciate the examples of Malu's zines and artwork, which delightfully convey her journey of self-discovery. The author surrounds the feisty protagonist with a trio of older women (including her mom, her best friend Joe's tattooed, punk-loving mother, and his humorous Abuela) who help her embrace being Mexican and punk. A charming debut about a thoughtful, creative preteen connecting to both halves of her identity. (Fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2017

    Gr 3-6-A fun romp through the awkward years of middle school that examines themes of identity and culture. When Malu has to move away from her dad and everything she knows, she takes her love of punk music with her. Following the rules of punk, she embarks on a new school journey, full of misadventures and hilarious life lessons. Malu is happy not to fit in with the crowd yet cannot bring herself to tell her mom that her passion for punk is not a rebellious phase-it's who she is. When classmates label Malu a coconut (brown on the outside and white on the inside), she is determined to prove to her school and herself that she is proud of her Mexican roots. With tenderness and humor, Perez explores the joys and challenges of being biracial. Readers will connect with Malu, a strong protagonist who leaps off the page and whose zine-inspired artistry boldly illustrates how she deals with life. VERDICT Those who enjoy vivacious, plucky heroines, such as the protagonists of Brenda Woods's The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick's Two Naomis, and Rebecca Stead's Goodbye Stranger, will eagerly embrace Malu.-Jessica Bratt, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 7, 2017
    After María Luisa O’Neill-Morales—Malú for short—and her divorced mother move from Florida to Chicago, the 12-year-old struggles with having her music-loving father so far away and with living up to a mother she has nicknamed SuperMexican. “Admit it, Mom,” Malú says during one of their squabbles. “I’m just your weird, unladylike, sloppy-Spanish-speaking, half-Mexican kid.” Malú takes solace in punk music and in creating handmade zines, which appear throughout; she also begins to make friends, forming a band—the Co-Co’s—that blends punk and Mexican music. (It also reclaims the slur “coconut,” which one of Malú’s classmates calls her.) Pérez’s debut is as exuberant as its heroine, who discovers that there’s real overlap between her Mexican heritage and the punk ethos she so admires. The relationships between children and parents are handled especially well: Malú chafes at her mother’s traditionalism while idolizing her friend Joe’s mother, a cafe owner who represents a merging of Mexican and punk cultures in a way that impresses Malú. A rowdy reminder that people are at their best when they aren’t forced into neat, tidy boxes. Ages 9–12. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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