The first rule of punk

Celia C. Pérez, 1972-

Book - 2017

Twelve-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales (who really prefers to be called Malú) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang--violating the dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.

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Children's Room jFICTION/Perez Celia Due Aug 28, 2022
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New York : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House 2017.
Physical Description
310 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Main Author
Celia C. Pérez, 1972- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

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. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

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.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

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, 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 Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When her first day at a new school is overshadowed by a clash with a queen bee and her dress code violating punk-rock clothes, 12-year-old Malú listens to her faraway dad's advice and resolves to be herself by pursuing the interests she loves and standing up to an anti-punk administration. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Twelve-year-old Marâia Luisa O'Neill-Morales (who really prefers to be called Malâu) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang--violating the dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

After Marâia 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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor BookThe 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.