The First Rule of Punk
The First Rule of Punk

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Annotation: After Maria Luisa O'Neill-Morales moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago, she violates her school's dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurns the school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded friends.
Catalog Number: #147394
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 310 pages
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-425-29040-9 Perma-Bound: 0-605-98959-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-425-29040-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-98959-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017010474
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
In her story of seventh-grader Malú, debut author Pérez harnesses the spirit of School of Rock and gives it a punk rock spin. Malú isn't happy about her recent move to Chicago, because it meant leaving her dad (her parents are amicably divorced) and his record store behind. She tries to assume a brave punk attitude, but she can't help being anxious on her first day of school, especially when she gets on the wrong side of the class mean girl. When Malú learns about the upcoming Fall Fiesta talent show, she decides to form a band, with the hopes of finding "her people" in the process. While this plan hits a few snags, it results in friendships and a Mexican punk mentor. Like any good riot grrrl, Malú finds a creative outlet in making zines, several of which appear in the novel and call attention to Malú's passions, heritage (she is half Mexican), and private concerns. Pérez delivers an upbeat story of being true to yourself and your beliefs, that tweens will rally behind.
Horn Book
[Books by Horn Book reviewers are not reviewed; we provide notice of publication and descriptive comment.] The first rule of punk is to be yourself, but it's hard for Malz, the bicultural daughter of divorced parents. Her white dad doesn't understand her internal struggles with her Mexican American identity, and her mom would rather Malz were more "seqorita" than punk. Starting a band becomes a chance to explore her heritage as well as her musical interests. Eight-page "zines" featuring Malz's collages punctuate the text.
Publishers Weekly
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. (Aug.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 36A 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 phaseit'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, Pérez 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
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Malú wants to be totally punk at her new middle school, but her Mexican-American mother would prefer she learn to be a proper señorita. Twelve-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales, aka Malú, 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, Malú—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 Malú'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." Malú 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 Malú'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)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Review (Thu Jun 01 00:00:00 CDT 2017)
ALA Booklist (Fri Sep 01 00:00:00 CDT 2017)
Horn Book (Sun Apr 01 00:00:00 CDT 2018)
Pura Belpre Honor
Publishers Weekly
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Wilson's Junior High Catalog
Word Count: 50,745
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 190322 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:12.0 / quiz:Q71555
Lexile: 670L
Guided Reading Level: T
Fountas & Pinnell: T

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book

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 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.


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