BOOK REVIEW: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Posted May 21, 2020 by wildandw in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW:  Permanent Record by Mary H.K. ChoiPermanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
on September 3, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 421
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchase

A New York Times bestseller An NPR Favorite Book of 2019 A BuzzFeed Best YA Book of 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of Emergency Contact, which Rainbow Rowell called “smart and funny,” comes an unforgettable new romance about how social media influences relationships every day.

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.

Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, step-and-repeats, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.

When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Lee and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.

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My Rating: 3 stars

Permanent Record is a starkly realistic, character-driven contemporary that I enjoyed, for the most part.

This book has slightly older characters and grittier topics for a YA, but that’s one of my favorite things about it.  Mary H.K. Choi has an amazing ability to paint a true-to-life picture of the less than ideal reality that a lot of young adults face as they begin to step out on their own.

Permanent Record is told from the POV of Pablo.  I really liked Pablo’s character; I found myself understanding a lot of his problems and rooting for him.  I do think, though, that the story would have benefited from dual POVs to include that of Leanna.  She is a bit mysterious, which was probably the point given her fame and the need to stay on brand, but I found myself not enjoying her character very much because I didn’t get as much insight into her as I might have liked.

In all honesty, the plot itself didn’t wow me and seemed quite implausible.  To me, this book has a lot more to do with the character growth than anything.

Overall, I enjoyed Permanent Record enough to recommend it, as long as you understand what you’re getting into.


Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer. She attended a large public high school in a suburb of San Antonio, then college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Textile and Apparel.

Source:  Goodreads




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