I am so excited to share my spoiler-free review of Permanent Record by Mary HK Choi! As you guys know, I fell in love with this author’s writing after I read Emergency Contact last year. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books for providing a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.
Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.
When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…
University drop-out meets pop star and they hit it off… But between family drama and celebrity gossip, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.
- Believable characters. Pablo’s life was far from perfect. In fact… it was kind of a mess: He was a college dropout and had a credit card problem. He wasn’t always kind to his friends, who seemed to have it together.
- The diversity!! Love that there was a Korean-Pakistani MC who grew up in America, and yearned to go to Korea and get in touch with his heritage.
- The complex family dynamics. Pablo had a loving, but broken family. Loved how real his mom and dad were. Even though they were imperfect, they tried their best.
- The chemistry between Pablo and Leanna was undeniable. They were so cute, their dialogues naturally adorable. This was the highlight of the book for me, what kept me turning page after page.
- Although there was a romance in this book, I am glad that this was secondary to Pablo’s personal growth which was central to the book.
- The story was a bit hard to get into at first. Pablo’s voice was initially hard for me to understand and it took me a while to warm up to his character. However once I liked him, I was hooked.
- There were a lot of secondary characters and although they were believable and likeable, there were too many of them and almost hard to keep track of everyone.
- Without giving anything away, I didn’t mind the ending but I felt that it was a bit anticlimactic.
Permanent Record was a poignant YA contemporary novel with believable characters and brilliant character chemistry. If you like diverse characters, family relationships and lots of feels, then consider adding this to your TBR!
Have you read any books by Mary H.K. Choi? What are your favourite YA/NA contemporary reads this year?
Photo by Ivan Dorofeev on Unsplash
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