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Permanent Record

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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, 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…


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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, 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…

30 review for Permanent Record

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC acquired at Book Expo in exchange for an honest review. “Trying to get better at the thing you want to be the best at is humiliating.” Hello to my favorite contemporary of 2019. Friends, this book was so quiet, but so loud, and really impacted me more than any other book I’ve read all year. This is the type of story that makes you want to see the world, the type of story that heals wounds you didn’t know you had, the type of story that makes you feel seen and loved and realize you are ARC acquired at Book Expo in exchange for an honest review. “Trying to get better at the thing you want to be the best at is humiliating.” Hello to my favorite contemporary of 2019. Friends, this book was so quiet, but so loud, and really impacted me more than any other book I’ve read all year. This is the type of story that makes you want to see the world, the type of story that heals wounds you didn’t know you had, the type of story that makes you feel seen and loved and realize you are worthy of unconditional happiness, and the type of story that will make you want to find that happiness and hold on to it with both hands. I know I probably sound so very cheesy, but this really is the type of book that you close and you just want to be a better person, and want to live a happier life, and it’s a reminder why books truly have the power to change lives. I loved this book with the sum of my being, and I’ll carry it with me and pass it along for the rest of my life. This is a book that borderlines on Young Adult and New Adult, about two characters who find each other while they are at the crossroads of trying to find themselves, too. They have very different backgrounds, and very different current living situations, but they both bond over the unknown and the bursts of happiness that they feel while communicating with each other. ➽ Pablo Neruda Rind - biracial (Korean and Pakistani), 20, working at a bodega in NYC, was an actual meme and now has a little bit of Instagram success because of it, and is thinking about going back to college after dropping out with a large sum of debt following him. ➽ Leanna Smart - biracial (Mexican and white), 22, childhood star now pop singer, and trying to be happy with the content she is putting out in the world. And one very late night, while Pablo is working in the bodega, Leanna comes in and their lives change. They are both searching for happiness, in very different ways and very different forms of outlets, but they start to think that maybe they can also find happiness together. And Mary HK Choi delivers a story that is so beautifully written, so heartfelt, so very real, that I won’t forget it, ever. Some of the themes and discussions in this book are so important and I truly think this story is going to change lives. I feel like I normally only read one book a year that changes my life, and I think that this year’s is without a doubt Permanent Record. Seeing Pablo question what he wants for his life, while also entering into depression because of this overwhelming debt he has accumulated because of doubt and uncertainty is something that I’ve never read about before. Never has a book really forced me to understand that Americans truly expect seventeen-year-olds and eighteen-year-olds to make choices that will impact them financially (and so many other ways) for the rest of their lives. Graduating college with 100k debt is the reality that so many people in their young twenties have, but so many also have that debt without a degree as well. It’s heartbreaking, truly, that we put this pressure on young adults and that we expect them to know how they want to spend their lives at such a young age, while also feeling that weight from society, from schools, and from their families. “God, this country. It’s so predatory.” And people have so many options that don’t involve school. Sometimes people find happiness chasing dreams that don’t require degrees. Sometimes people find happiness becoming celebrities in many different forms. Yes, sometimes people do find happiness with a degree that will help them live the life with the job they want. But sometimes people will find happiness simply by being on the journey of searching for happiness in the first place. There is no wrong way to find happiness, and it can be so very hard to find, but it is always so important that you search for it, because you’re so deserving of it. I think Pablo and his situation is such a reality for so many. Finding happiness, and determination, and inspiration… it can be so very hard. And Pablo, much like many of us, is someone who doesn’t make it easy. This book, in my eyes, is also a love letter to depression awareness and how depression can come in many forms unknowingly. Pablo’s life and struggle, both academically and with his loved ones, was something so very raw, and I was so easily able to connect with, and I think many others will feel like that too. Because sometimes the weight of other peoples’ expectations can be so very heavy. “Life isn’t a destination. It’s the continual practice of things that make you wiser and happier.” This is ownvoices for the Korean representation, but I just want to touch on how I really loved seeing Leanna and Pablo talk about them both being biracial. It was so important and meaningful for me to see characters talk about how they are both of their races, instead of half and half. This seems like such a simple concept, something that should be easy for me to say, “hello, my name is Melanie and I’m Filipino” but it is something that I really struggle with, and I always want to break my racial identity of being Filipino and white up in percentages as a kneejerk reaction when talking about myself. And this small conversation between Pablo and Leanna just really meant so very much to me, and really hit me extremely hard. Also, just seeing Pablo having a tough time not feeling as connected to parts of his identity was really important and moving, too. And, like always, seeing an older sibling help take care of their younger brother is something that will always resonate with me and inside my heart. Pab’s entire family dynamic really was perfection actually, because I feel like in literature, we either get really horrible parents or really perfect parents; we never really get the messy in between, where parents are supportive and loving but have a hard time showing their love and support. “You don't get to start over every day; you get to keep going.” Overall, I just really loved this book and it means so very much to me. The messages in this book really are life changing and I truly wish I could put this book in everyone’s hands. I feel like, much like Emergency Contact, this could be a polarizing book, but I also think it is a book that is going to touch and impact so many. I know a lot of people probably won’t love the ending, but I truly thought it was perfection and really made this book standout as a true masterpiece. And if you read through this whole review, I hope you know that I appreciate you, and that it is never too late to follow your dreams and find the happiness you deserve. Oh, also, be warned that the mention of all the snacks in this will make you extremely hungry. Youtube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. Content and Trigger Warnings: anxiety, debt, the debt crisis, credit debt, bill collectors, talk of sudden death briefly, talk of cancer, minor scene involving childhood cancer and the Make A Wish foundation, depression, codependency, and talk of assault (unwanted touching).

  2. 4 out of 5

    emma

    Life is a bummer. So many bad things happen every day. Like good shows getting canceled. Or when autumn ends and it’s too cold and all the leaves are brown and the trees are bare. Or that thing that happens sometimes, inexplicably, when you bake cookies where they turn all liquidy and spread out into this flat unappetizing chocolate-chip-lumpy Thing. Or the worst thing of all: me anticipating a book for OVER A YEAR and then not caring for that book very much at all. (I know none of these even begin Life is a bummer. So many bad things happen every day. Like good shows getting canceled. Or when autumn ends and it’s too cold and all the leaves are brown and the trees are bare. Or that thing that happens sometimes, inexplicably, when you bake cookies where they turn all liquidy and spread out into this flat unappetizing chocolate-chip-lumpy Thing. Or the worst thing of all: me anticipating a book for OVER A YEAR and then not caring for that book very much at all. (I know none of these even begin to enter the top million of the list of worst things happening in the world, but let’s pretend for a moment we live in a utopia where these are our biggest problems. And then everyone would feel bad for me and give me attention. So. Extra utopian.) I loved Emergency Contact with my life. I loved the flawed characters, I loved the Very Hip And Online tone of the writing, I loved the story of the relationship that builds between everyone, not just our romantic duo. Which is why it’s so disappointing (and surprising, and upsetting, and horrible, and so on) that none of those loves translated to Mary H.K. Choi’s second book. In Permanent Record, we follow Pablo, a deeply indebted college dropout-turned-bodega employee who soon develops a crush-at-first-sight on teen pop sensation Leanna Smart. And not only did I not love either of these characters, I had trouble understanding them. Pablo is an unknown amount of money in debt - probably tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. His story is that it’s because no one educates high schoolers on how much college costs, nor on the burden of credit card debt, nor on the importance of being sure of what you want to do before you pay six figures to attain a degree in it. And that is, in some ways, fair. America has a student debt crisis, and at its foundation is the fact that asking 17 year olds to saddle up with a $40,000 price tag for four years isn’t fair. However. This doesn’t sit well with me. When I was 13, I went on a family trip to New York City. I fell in love with it so much that the second I got home, I booted up the family laptop, googled “colleges in New York,” and penciled a list of the results in a half-used notebook. Over the years that followed, I did more and more research, and fell more and more in love with New York University - the school Pablo attends in this book. I spent a weekend on a pullout couch with my friend in her aunt’s apartment so I could tour it. I wrote lists of study abroad destinations and majors and schools. I was obsessed with the idea of attending. And when I applied, I got in. But I couldn’t go. It just cost too much money. That was a conclusion I came to all on my own. So it was hard for me to accept that Pablo got himself in a ton of student debt because he “you don’t say no to NYU.” That he ignored the advice of his parents and people he knew in order to attend. I didn’t have much more support than he did. I didn’t know sh*t about student loans or debt. I experienced a high school culture that really placed a lot of pressure on name recognition for college choice. I had dreamed about NYU for years. And I still said no. So I spent a lot of my time with this book staving off resentment and a lack of understanding. Especially as Pablo opened credit cards and racked up balances and abandoned payment. Especially as he refused to speak to his friends or his parents or his boss or anyone (and quit his job without notice). Because that sh*t is just common sense. I also was unable to connect with Pablo’s love interest, Leanna, who is extremely selfish and mean. Can’t relate to the life of a teen pop sensation like I can relate to someone who wants to go to NYU, but I still managed not to connect to either of them! The language also didn’t feel as real and relatable to me in this one? It felt a lot more forced and cringey. Maybe I’m just getting old. Although I’m 22 and not more than a couple years older than either of these characters. So. Probably not that. And likely no surprise, seeing as I didn’t care for these characters at all, but I was NOT interested in their relationship. And I didn’t really...get it? Pablo is instantly obsessed with Leanna upon meeting her, to the point of constant stalking. Which I guess makes sense from a celebrity crush standpoint, but in my humble opinion, not the cutest in a romance type situation. Anyway. I’m going to go cry for a hundred years now. Bottom line: WHY DO I SUFFER. ---------- i don't know what i did in a past life to deserve being disappointed by a book i anticipated for over a year, but i assume it was murder. or worse. review to come / 2.5 stars ---------- turns out the only thing i had to do to be able to read this book was wait. the worst thing of all. ---------- list of things i would do in exchange for being able to read this book: - give up cookies for a week. okay 3 days - reread The Fault in Our Stars - go without talking about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for as long as humanly possible (36 hours) - write another love letter to review of Emergency Contact - actually start writing the 10-12 page paper I have due in 3 days now, instead of the day before it's due - put down what i'm currently eating (raw cookie dough with a spoon at 10:36 a.m.) and eat a vegetable or something i would do all of this and more. mary h.k. choi hmu

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    I loved this SO MUCH. SO MUCH!!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    ellie

    name a better duo than mary h.k. choi books and aesthetic ass covers that make you want to buy the book despite not knowing anything about it

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    “Life isn’t a destination. It’s the continual practice of things that make you wiser and happier” This was so relatable and enjoyable. Pablo was an amazing character, and the story is really about him trying to find his footing in life. The romance was also adorable, and I just had the best time reading this! I received an ARC of this at BookExpo. It comes out 3rd September 2019!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I wanted to like this more than I did. From the synopsis I thought this was going to be dual POV, but it’s just told in the guy’s POV. I think I would have enjoyed this if we could have heard more from her. I also found him a bit.. insufferable? And while that’s the point and makes sense for what he’s going through, I found that made his arc rather stagnant at times. I did enjoy the slice of life elements and depiction of depression and anxiety. But the romance didn’t give me butterflies. And I wanted to like this more than I did. From the synopsis I thought this was going to be dual POV, but it’s just told in the guy’s POV. I think I would have enjoyed this if we could have heard more from her. I also found him a bit.. insufferable? And while that’s the point and makes sense for what he’s going through, I found that made his arc rather stagnant at times. I did enjoy the slice of life elements and depiction of depression and anxiety. But the romance didn’t give me butterflies. And you always want butterflies.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Pablo Neruda Rind, or Pab for short, is a somewhat-rudderless, half-Korean, half-Pakistani college dropout with a mound of credit card debt. He works the graveyard shift at a 24-hour upscale bodega in Brooklyn and spends a good deal of time wondering what to do with his future. Should he try reapplying to NYU despite not being able to afford it (much less afford his rent)? Should he get a job? Should he move back in with his mother, who hasn't forgiven him for dropping out in the first place? All Pablo Neruda Rind, or Pab for short, is a somewhat-rudderless, half-Korean, half-Pakistani college dropout with a mound of credit card debt. He works the graveyard shift at a 24-hour upscale bodega in Brooklyn and spends a good deal of time wondering what to do with his future. Should he try reapplying to NYU despite not being able to afford it (much less afford his rent)? Should he get a job? Should he move back in with his mother, who hasn't forgiven him for dropping out in the first place? All of the questions about the path he should take, coupled with the letters and phone calls from bill collectors, tend to overwhelm him. He tries to content himself with inventing unique snack combinations for his Instagram feed. (Snack foods are his jam.) He also is trying to figure out how to navigate his relationships with his tiger mother and his laissez-faire father. And then one winter morning at 5:00 a.m. during one of Pab's bodega shifts, she walks in. Leanna Smart—former child star who transitioned to pop star and social media celebrity—shows up in his store. Alone. No entourage. But she does accumulate an impressive supply of snacks. The two trade jokes, roll their eyes at the world, and flirt. This is a relationship destined to go nowhere because they couldn't come from two more different worlds. But they can't resist each other. So they take a leap, which leads them on a journey that is at once spontaneous, magical, emotional, and fraught with trouble. Permanent Record is funny, poignant, thought-provoking, and a little ridiculous, but it's an insightful commentary on our celebrity- and social media-obsessed culture, and how difficult it is to let someone see your true self. This book started a little slow but definitely picked up steam as it went on. Mary H.K. Choi's first book, Emergency Contact , was one of the best books I read last year. She has such an ear for dialogue and while the characters here are tremendously erudite, sarcastic, and whip-smart, it works for the book considering who the characters are. I also felt that while some of the situations that occurred were silly the relationships between Pab and his family seemed genuine. The characters are fun and you root for them, and at the same time, you want to smack them when they're acting like idiots. Pab isn't really very sympathetic through a good portion of the book and his near-total paralysis toward his future and the financial situation he's in, as well as the way he treats people really wore on me a bit. Choi is a tremendously talented writer, and while Permanent Record didn't quite wow me as her first book did, I really enjoyed it, and read most of it on a long flight. She remains one of the authors whose work I'm most excited to follow. Simon & Schuster provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! This book publishes September 3, 2019. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    4 stars After reading Emergency Contact, I knew I would be picking up any and everything Mary H.K. Choi writes. You know how you just jive with an authors writing style? I totally jive with hers. Although I loved her debut novel just a tad more than this (I think it was just a personal preference/my connection to the main character in the first book) I thought this was amazing as well. Pablo Neruda Rind is a twenty year old guy still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. This is 4 stars After reading Emergency Contact, I knew I would be picking up any and everything Mary H.K. Choi writes. You know how you just jive with an authors writing style? I totally jive with hers. Although I loved her debut novel just a tad more than this (I think it was just a personal preference/my connection to the main character in the first book) I thought this was amazing as well. Pablo Neruda Rind is a twenty year old guy still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. This is not made easy by the crippling debt he has from dropping out of school. Right now, he’s working at a health foods store and trying to figure it out. It’s there he meets Leanna Smart. Leanna is famous, but when she meets Pablo, he doesn’t recognize her at first. He’s kind to her and likes her right away and this meeting changes both of their lives forever. I think this will be relatable for people in their twenties and even those older than that. I’m not in my twenties anymore and thank the lord I’ve worked super hard to pay off all my student loans, but I have so many friends that are still struggling with this. It’s truly a crisis for so many and Pab was just one example of how it can feel like it’s drowning a person. It’s already scary that age, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life and accumulating all this debt while trying to decide. There’s so much pressure and it’s hard. This book did a fantastic job of reflecting all that. Permanent Record is a hard-hitting contemporary that made me think about things, made me feel, made me laugh, and gave me so much of that family dynamic I love in books. Pablo’s family was fantastic, as well as his roommates and Leanna’s abuela. This is one of those books I didn’t want to put down and I’m such a huge fan of Choi’s writing, I can’t recommend it enough! “Nothing that is a manifestation of your creative energies is stupid. Doing nothing is the only stupid.” I chose this as my monthly YA BOTM and my goodness… isn’t the cover SO GORGEOUS!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    You know when you just put a book down after you've finished it. And you just sit there. But somehow you find tears welling up in your eyes. So you try to wipe them away... Yet you can't. The tears just have to be shed. The emotions demand to be felt. That's exactly how I was after finishing Permanent Record. This book took a number of days for me to read because I just felt it all so keenly. I couldn't read at my normal place. This book demanded more of me. And not for a second do I regret You know when you just put a book down after you've finished it. And you just sit there. But somehow you find tears welling up in your eyes. So you try to wipe them away... Yet you can't. The tears just have to be shed. The emotions demand to be felt. That's exactly how I was after finishing Permanent Record. This book took a number of days for me to read because I just felt it all so keenly. I couldn't read at my normal place. This book demanded more of me. And not for a second do I regret giving it my heart. If you've ever been lost or lonely or confused in life then you will know exactly the feelings that Pablo goes through in this book. His life may be different to yours... I mean hands up who among us has had a deeply affecting love affair with a celebrity... *cue deafening silence* ...so yes. His life is different. This definitely has aspects of the purely fictional... But yet Pablo grounds this. Pablo is you. He is me. Pablo is all of us. He's every fear you've ever had, every doubt; every feeling of loss, of not fitting in... Sometimes books are more than their plots. Because the characters in them truly touch us. Pablo's story moved me so deeply. The journey his character took, his dealings with his family, his friends, his heartbreak, his crippling anxiety and depression... I felt what he felt. My heart ached for him and it also ached for me. That is truly gifted writing. My world weary heart identified with his and I feel like I learned as much about myself from this reading experience as Pablo did from his journey. This is such a deceptive book. On the surface it's pegged as a love story between a pop starlet and a uni dropout... But the blurb barely scratches the surface at what this book truly is about. It's about finding ourselves. Finding acceptance. And knowing that it's okay to not always have the answers. The characters here don't try to be likeable. Pablo makes frustrating choices for sure. And we only see Leanna through his eyes so never really understand her and her motivations... But this worked for me. I like that this book took a narrow PoV because isn't that how we each experience life anyway? It's all through our individual interpretation. So I loved the narrative choices that Choi made. I know as I read an ARC I'm not supposed to quote the book unless I can check it against the final published piece but I simply have to share this quote. Because it struck a chord deep within me... "Life isn't a destination. It's the continual practice of things that make you wiser and happier." Keep practicing my friends. And when our life's stories have concluded hopefully we can look back and know that wherever we ended up it didn't matter, because we were happy. And isn't that what we all want. Our own happy ever after. four and a half stars rounded up to five *An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Atom/Little, Brown Book Group UK, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog

  10. 5 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    Why are her covers so fucking perfect? Why are her covers so fucking perfect? ✨

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Cry me a river. If Choi's intention had been to write a novel about quintessential gen z-ers, the way we, the olds, see them, she succeeded spectacularly. Every stereotype of an obnoxious 20-something you have in your head, it's in this book. And it's excruciating to read. I know, I know, this is a story about a 20-year old guy drowning in student debt. But as much as I generally feel sorry for this kind of plight, it just doesn't hit you the same way when the person who is in debt is a whiny, Cry me a river. If Choi's intention had been to write a novel about quintessential gen z-ers, the way we, the olds, see them, she succeeded spectacularly. Every stereotype of an obnoxious 20-something you have in your head, it's in this book. And it's excruciating to read. I know, I know, this is a story about a 20-year old guy drowning in student debt. But as much as I generally feel sorry for this kind of plight, it just doesn't hit you the same way when the person who is in debt is a whiny, narcissistic, lazy, privileged guy who's never learned to take responsibility for anything. (It all is mom's fault!) And then this debt story is wrapped in a romance, but of the kind that doesn't really make you ship the couple. Pablo and Leanna have no chemistry and are united by their love of snacks and complaining. See, she is a pop star and her Instagram life is HARD! I only sort of started liking Permanent Record at about 80% when both these drama queens were finally called on their bullshit. But as Pablo's solution to his financial woes included taking money from his parents and making YouTube videos (yes, you read that right!) among other things, I groaned and gave up on the whole enterprise of feeling empathy for these people. What did we learn? No matter how much you mess up, your privilege will bail you out? Niiiice.

  12. 5 out of 5

    alexandra

    this review was originally posted on twirling pages objectively, this book is closer to a 3.5 or 4/5 star BUT because i had such a wonderful reading experience and enjoyed it so so so much, i have no qualms for giving it a 5/5. Permanent Record is the first book i stayed up to read in a really long time; i can’t remember the last time it happened. i just– T—T mary h.k. choi’s writing continues to blow me away. i’m obsessed and in love. it makes me want to write, or be a writer. i wish i were able this review was originally posted on twirling pages objectively, this book is closer to a 3.5 or 4/5 star BUT because i had such a wonderful reading experience and enjoyed it so so so much, i have no qualms for giving it a 5/5. Permanent Record is the first book i stayed up to read in a really long time; i can’t remember the last time it happened. i just– T—T mary h.k. choi’s writing continues to blow me away. i’m obsessed and in love. it makes me want to write, or be a writer. i wish i were able to put my thoughts into words the way she does. this felt more like a collection of essays than a novel. it reminded me of durga chew-bose’s Too Much and Not the Mood (aka one of my all! time! favorites!) in the way it was unfiltered, casual (but not), and cultured. No finite moment is responsible for my success. There wasn't a fork in the road. Some monumental inflection point where my life changed. It was the accumulation of totally normal, regular-ass days where I worked hard, followed my better instincts, and did the right thing. much of the story is set in new york/brooklyn and i really felt myself transported back to the dingy streets. i could almost feel the rumble of passing trains and cluster of people you know but don’t know. it was wonderfully cinematic. for a while, i was “over” being obsessed with new york and okay with not moving there. but after reading this?? it felt weirdly personal. i want to roll my eyes at the train delays; i want to go to the bodega and hunt for specific food items. this isn’t a loud NEW YORK book, but it really felt like one. also it made me hungry for snacks. fair warning. a big thing i noticed was the pacing. it was a little very scattered – jumping from chapters of a singular night to sentences summarizing weeks. at first i was kind of bothered and confused, but i came to see it as a metaphor for our main character, pab’s, well-being. (and i have a lot of Thoughts about him) throughout the novel, he’s unsure of what he wants and seems out of focus. (how does one make the main character, told in first-person pov, unfocused????? truly a skill. how?!!!) but when things feel Big for him, you can see it reflected in the writing, pacing, and everything. when things become clearer for him, he loses his haze. Trying to get better at the thing you want to be the best at is humiliating. these characters and relationships are messy and complicated. i kind of hated some of them. but by the end, i loved them all!! (shocker) they were so human. at times they were very frustrating, but it was annoying because it’s things i would do and hate myself for doing. these characters were very much their own, but i could also see hints of them in myself and my friends. when relationships were messy or tense, i could see it’s because people are in certain places at certain times. it made me reevaluate my relationships. and kinda feel existential. it's great.  (view spoiler)[ can we take a moment to talk about pab??? i didn’t really get him at first. and in the middle he was SO INFURIATING. i hated how he kept avoiding his problems; i hated the way he was treating his friends and family; i hated how kept breaking his promise to lee and goes down an internet spiral. but i could understand why. in a way, pab felt like me when i block everything out and avoid my problems. i become infatuated by this Shiny New Thing (or for him, person) and i lose all sense of reason. i don’t know why i do this and i can’t stop. it’s the worst and he was the worst. BUT he grows so much. by the end, he’s not “the perfect person” but has a sense of what he wants and it’s so endearing. i become the weepy emoji. and lee. i really really liked her. i feel like i could do a big deep dive on her as a person, but it would make me just like pab or any of the smartees or dumbees. it's like when i follow someone on instagram but don't KNOW them. i read her words and see her as a person but i don't KNOW her. but isn't that the same for any human connection or relationship? is hers different just because she's famous and part brand and not full person? or is it because it's told in pab's perspective? my thoughts on her continue to evolve and grow. their relationship felt a little insta-lovey and weird, but i still loved them together? the ending reminded me SO MUCH of la la land and i loved it so much. when pab FINALLY chose himself over her, i felt like a proud mom. and even though they don't end up together, there's a chance they COULD at some point of the future. your love doesn't have to be everlasting for it to matter. roman holiday-esque. it could never work out but it's still a different sort of special. i also want to make some things clear: this is marketed as a YA book, but it didn’t really feel YA? the characters are ~20-22. college era and a little beyond. i guess you could say it’s NA, but it’s very not NA. it’s also marketed as a romance (see cover) and i don’t think the romance is the Big Thing. it is, but it isn’t. it’s a romance in the way la la land is a romance; it is, but it’s more about the characters themselves than the relationship they’re having and ~steamy romance~. which i like so much better. ... in art the purpose is the creation, not the result. Grow as you build. Autotelism. 'Auto' for self and 'telos' for goal. Find joy in the learning. i could go on, but i think it’s very clear how much i enjoyed this book. reading it made me eight-years-old again when i would bring the book with my everywhere and constantly think about the story throughout the day. even though there were “problems” with it from a reviewer’s standpoint, i still love it. i know the pacing is weird; the plot is essentially non-existent and confused; the romance is kiiinda insta-lovey but not. who cares?  it’s still great.  ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mary H.K. Choi is a writer for The New York Times, GQ, Wired, and The Atlantic. She has written comics for Marvel and DC, as well as a collection of essays called Oh, Never Mind. Her debut novel Emergency Contact was a New York Times bestseller. She is the host of Hey, Cool Job!, a podcast about jobs and Hey, Cool Life!, a podcast about mental health and creativity. Mary grew up in Hong Kong and Texas and now lives in New York. Follow her on Twitter @ChoitotheWorld. BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE August 26th – Vicky Who Reads August 27th – Adventures of a Book Junkie August 28th – Utopia State of Mind August 29th – Read by Tiffany August 30th – Rich in Color August 31st – Your Tita Kate September 2nd – Books on Pointe September 3rd – Andi’s ABCs September 4th – Book Scents September 5th – Twirling Pages (that's me!!) September 6th – Bookshelves & Paperbacks September 9th – YA Bibliophile September 10th – Mary Had A Little Book Blog September 11th – Chasing Faerytales September 12th – Nicole’s Novel Reads September 13th – Mel to the Any (hide spoiler)]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    This isn't a bad book. Not technically. The writing style is still good and all that, but then there were the characters. Boy, oh boy, these characters. I just didn't like them. No, scratch that. It's not that I didn't like them. It's that I didn't care. Lee was so boring to me. So superficial. And yeah, maybe that was the point, and you know what? I still didn't like her. At times she didn't even feel like a character at all. She felt like a caricature pulled right out of someone's fantasy in This isn't a bad book. Not technically. The writing style is still good and all that, but then there were the characters. Boy, oh boy, these characters. I just didn't like them.  No, scratch that. It's not that I didn't like them. It's that I didn't care. Lee was so boring to me. So superficial. And yeah, maybe that was the point, and you know what? I still didn't like her. At times she didn't even feel like a character at all. She felt like a caricature pulled right out of someone's fantasy in order to be the perfect idea of a girl. But then again, maybe that was the point? At least, I hope that was the point? In seeing her only from Pablo's mind, we're only shown an idea of Lee. An idea over which Pablo obsesses, ignoring friends and family and responsibilities. As Pablo goes deeper into his relationship with Leanna, the more his life spirals out of control. The reason I couldn't cheer for Pablo and like him as a character was that he never did anything about it. He just kept digging himself in deeper, letting the spiral run out of control, willingly as he chased Lee around. It felt like he complained a lot and did little to actually help his situation and that got boring and annoying for me. Some other issues I had was that there was like, no plot? Maybe I missed it? But also, where was this going? What did the characters actually want? Idk. Pablo and Lee's relationship was also a bit questionable perhaps. I personally would have loved it if the book focused more on Pablo and his family. His little brother Rain was cool and his parents had an interesting dynamic. Instead, we focused on Pablo drool over a girl for several hundred pages. All of that said, I did enjoy the ending, although it was a bit cliche. I liked seeing Pablo try to get his life back on track. I would have liked to see a bit more focus on the fact that Pablo was very clearly depressed and needed some serious help. They briefly mention it and then it's sort of ignored and he's magically better. Overall, despite everything I just said, I actually thought the book was pretty ok. Not great, I certainly didn't love it, but it also wasn't bad. It was more than meh, less than wow.  Make of that what you will. Let me know id you've already read this one and what you think! Or if you're planning on reading it any time soon! Also, which did you like more, this one or Emergency Contact? Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr || Pinterest

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jananie (thisstoryaintover)

    damn i really enjoyed this.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hollis

    I read EMERGENCY CONTACT, Mary H. K. Choi's debut novel, before the era of the blog so believe me when I say I liked elements of it but didn't love it (sidetone, the review is on GR, so feel free to investigate if you feel so inclined). I found the story to be a little dull, though the characters were occasionally vibrant even if I didn't like them, with plenty of Real Issues(tm) to tackle, but overall the story felt a little.. sad. A lot sad. Nonetheless I wanted to give her follow up novel a I read EMERGENCY CONTACT, Mary H. K. Choi's debut novel, before the era of the blog so believe me when I say I liked elements of it but didn't love it (sidetone, the review is on GR, so feel free to investigate if you feel so inclined). I found the story to be a little dull, though the characters were occasionally vibrant even if I didn't like them, with plenty of Real Issues(tm) to tackle, but overall the story felt a little.. sad. A lot sad. Nonetheless I wanted to give her follow up novel a chance because I wondered if there might be more of things I liked to balance out what I didn't. And, sad to say, the answer is a nope. I definitely appreciate this take on the ‘normie-meets-a-celebrity’ trope, but. So much but. Again, this comes from not quite liking the characters even if sometimes they did dazzle a bit. Adding to this weird sense of dismay was a really rough read, with more Real Issues(tm), sprinkled (heavily. maybe doused) ontop of the whole experience. The greatness factor was having a young person deal with the horrifying and very real danger of credit cards, debt, and the uncertainty of post-graduate school. But w o w was it, like, a serious downer. Sure, we end on a high (medium) note, not resolved with everything tied up in a neat bow, but leaning into the reality, instead of avoiding it, but wow. The book is hella diverse and occasionally did make me laugh out loud (twice? maybe three times) but honestly I'm just really sad because I know this isn't the author for me. I can appreciate the work she's doing, what she's putting out there, and the people who will relate or learn from it. But I won't do this to myself again and she deserves better than my low reviews when I now know, with certainty, we just aren't meant to be. ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy (libraryofamy)

    DNF on page 219. There is almost nothing I enjoyed about this book. The writing style was exhausting, it was wholly dependent on the narrative talking like a *~hip twenty-something~*, using language that will be cringe-y in a couple of years. Yeah, the main character is a hip twenty-something, but there's way to get that across and still maintain a semi-understandable narrative. Also, the amount of pop-culture references was a big turn-off. Again, not gonna make sense to readers in 5-10 years and DNF on page 219. There is almost nothing I enjoyed about this book. The writing style was exhausting, it was wholly dependent on the narrative talking like a *~hip twenty-something~*, using language that will be cringe-y in a couple of years. Yeah, the main character is a hip twenty-something, but there's way to get that across and still maintain a semi-understandable narrative. Also, the amount of pop-culture references was a big turn-off. Again, not gonna make sense to readers in 5-10 years and beyond. And, god, the niche New York references just screamed that the author wanted everyone to know she's familiar with New York. I just couldn't get into the story because everything about the writing style felt forced and distracting. The main character is, in essence, insufferable. I did appreciate the way he experienced anxiety, as it is extremely similar to my experiences. But Pablo, however, is a f*cking baby. He's facing really important problems with very big consequences, and instead of using the resources that are offered to him from other characters, he just ignores everything and remains obsessed with his love interest as a coping mechanism. It was really frustrating to read! I can appreciate characters who suffer from mental illness, and I realize procrastination/running away from your problems is part of that for some people, but he had many opportunities to alleviate a big stressor in his life in a pretty easy way and he just... doesn't even try. He's also just really cocky, selfish, bratty, and self-absorbed. Maybe all of these things are addressed in the later half of the book, but I just don't care. And... the romance. Ugh, the romance! It was awful. Not only was it the definition of insta-love, but all of their conversations were so forced and fake-deep and surface level stupid. It was seriously painful to read their interactions. It was like the manic-pixie-dream-relationship and I wanted to yell every time the MC swooned over the girl he didn't know at all when she said something unfunny. They had zero chemistry yet fell in love after, like, two interactions. Yuck, spare me. Yeah, so... I appreciated the anxiety rep but that was about it. I pretty much hated everything else! I really wanted to finish this but there are so many other books I'm dying to read right now and I will NOT let this book put me in a slump. BYE!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    DNF. Wow. That narrative voice is intense. I’m not sure how a lot of people are invested in this story as almost half of it are linguistic references and pop culture mishmash that only makes sense if you’re already tuned in to NYC, slang, and internet dialogue. It almost felt like Pablo was writing out an Instagram description/interior monologue the whole time. Not my jam, and honestly in 5 years this story will read like an outdated Facebook post reads to us now. I’ve read some other reviews and DNF. Wow. That narrative voice is intense. I’m not sure how a lot of people are invested in this story as almost half of it are linguistic references and pop culture mishmash that only makes sense if you’re already tuned in to NYC, slang, and internet dialogue. It almost felt like Pablo was writing out an Instagram description/interior monologue the whole time. Not my jam, and honestly in 5 years this story will read like an outdated Facebook post reads to us now. I’ve read some other reviews and it sounds like my issues with Pablo don’t get better over time, and we never get another POV. Which is a shame, because this cover is so gorgeous. Sigh. Very—VERY—slight chance that I’ll pick this one up again, but most likely not.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    I don’t think it’s a secret that I was {am} borderline obsessed with Emergency Contact and I was so eager to get an arc of PR in my hands...sadly, this wasn’t what I was looking for. Pablo and Lee are just okay characters. He’s fairly apathetic and she’s so busy it comes across as self-centered. They’re both struggling in their own way and even with that, I couldn’t connect with either of them. There’s a pretty large cast of characters here and no one really stood out for me. Plot wise, it was I don’t think it’s a secret that I was {am} borderline obsessed with Emergency Contact and I was so eager to get an arc of PR in my hands...sadly, this wasn’t what I was looking for. Pablo and Lee are just okay characters. He’s fairly apathetic and she’s so busy it comes across as self-centered. They’re both struggling in their own way and even with that, I couldn’t connect with either of them. There’s a pretty large cast of characters here and no one really stood out for me. Plot wise, it was booooooooring. Pablo’s inner monologue was a struggle and I constantly felt like there was a portion of the story I was missing. Or that I should have just known. There was some growth on Pablo’s part {he was at least in a better place than the beginning}, but by the time it happened, the book was nearly over and I was glad. Overall, I did think about DNFing, but something kept me reading. I’ve also written this review 5 different times and it still doesn’t sound right to me, but I can’t articulate any further. **Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing the arc free of charge**

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Why am I so drawn to beautiful covers and interesting-sounding plots? And why do they deceive me most of the time? The first book by Mary H.K. Choi, Emergency Contact, was okay, but I was willing to give her another big chance because this book sounded so good. But then it wasn't! Listen, my main problem with this novel is that it was quite boring. The plot didn't capture my attention and I really could not have cared less about the two main characters, Pablo and Lee. The side-characters, Why am I so drawn to beautiful covers and interesting-sounding plots? And why do they deceive me most of the time? The first book by Mary H.K. Choi, Emergency Contact, was okay, but I was willing to give her another big chance because this book sounded so good. But then it wasn't! Listen, my main problem with this novel is that it was quite boring. The plot didn't capture my attention and I really could not have cared less about the two main characters, Pablo and Lee. The side-characters, those were the ones I loved! They were great and they were there to make Pablo realize a lot of stuff. I can't even articulate what went wrong exactly in this book, for me it just did not work.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    This was such a delightful slice-of-life contemporary. I loved that our protagonist, Pablo, is college-aged, but has dropped out of college and is trying to figure out what to do next. This was so refreshing and realistic and painfully relatable and just, ugh. So good.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    DNF at 20% The protagonist and narrator of Permanent Record is experiencing a woke existential life crisis that could be appreciated or understood only by an American reader. I started this hoping to read of a 'meet-cute' scenario, with the added twist that one of them is famous (a more modern and 'up to date' version of Notting Hill) but I soon found myself rethinking my expectations. Our narrator is named Pablo Neruda Rind. Yep...just to give those real 'dreamer boy' vibes... 20% in and all our DNF at 20% The protagonist and narrator of Permanent Record is experiencing a woke existential life crisis that could be appreciated or understood only by an American reader. I started this hoping to read of a 'meet-cute' scenario, with the added twist that one of them is famous (a more modern and 'up to date' version of Notting Hill) but I soon found myself rethinking my expectations. ✖Our narrator is named Pablo Neruda Rind. Yep...just to give those real 'dreamer boy' vibes... ✖20% in and all our narrator has done is talk about junk food (from names of different brands to their 'amazing' flavours...) and complain about how he feels different (when he is surrounded by people who are, like him, mixed-race or mixed-heritage). Yet, our narrator makes it sound as if he is the only one to be experiencing this culture divide...and while I could get behind his being self-involved (after all I ended up growing fond of the ever solipsistic Madame Bovary) I could not bring myself to believe in him. At times he sounded like the stereotypical American dude, and a few pages later he would go all soft-boy on me ('not like other boys'), and then he would have these inner monologues about racial stereotyping and cultural appropriation that sounded as if he was talking to a classroom of ten years olds (the way he discussed these issues seemed to simplify them, and his delivery was extremely patronising ....the target audience for this book will not need such spoon-feeding). ✖Our love interest seems to be a sort of Ariana Grande (with she has her own perfume and sportswear) yet she can walk into a twenty-four-hour deli in New York without any escorts. Their banter revolved around junk food...yeah, real chemistry there (also I found it weird that he clocked in the brands of her every item of clothing she was wearing...who does that?). ✖I wished YA and New Adult books stopped glamorising mental illnesses. It isn't something to be used as a way of achieving certain sad aesthetics. Having anxiety is not 'cool' and there is a huge difference between feeling anxious and/or depressed for understandable things (in Pab's case these would be his mounting debt accumulated with various credit cards and his feeling 'stuck' in an unfulfilling job) and actually having an anxiety or mood disorder. ✖There are too many pop cultural references. Social media dominates the lives of these characters (they are doing bets over who is going to become Instagram 'verified' first...and I should care?) and I just didn't get it. They used this cringy internet talk made up of abbreviations and others new slangs that didn't really make them into more relatable or believable characters. Call me old-fashioned but I could not keep up with their 'gen z' lingo...and part of me did not even wish to as the talks Pab had with his 'so-called' friends sounded, excuse my French, dumb. ✖Although labels can help bring people together or make some feel accepted or understood, it can also have a restricting effect. Here it seemed that all the characters were labelling themselves into a corner (from what clothes they wear, how they wear these clothes, what food they eat, where they shop, what sort of social media they use, how many followers they have). ✖Lastly...it may be because I'm an oversensitive Italian but when I read that Pab used farfalle for his turkey and potato curry I swear I could hear my ancestors crying out in despair. And I'm supposed to like this guy?! This book had the potential of being a sweet romance with some insightful commentary about college (the pressure to attend one, its extortionately high fees, the fact that Pab is made to feel as if his getting a place in the college he wanted was only because of his being mixed-race)....but it sadly looses itself in copious amounts of American wokeness and questionable celebrations of junk food. Read more reviews on my blog / / / View all my reviews on Goodreads

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover 3.5 Stars Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi is an original story about a pop star and a college dropout that is surprisingly meaningful. I enjoyed the premise as well as the blend of entertainment and serious moments, however the main character’s actions really stressed me out. I had high hopes for this book since I enjoyed Emergency Contact, but this one fell a bit flat for me. This book follows Pablo, an NYU dropout working at a deli, when he meets pop star Leanne Full Review on The Candid Cover 3.5 Stars Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi is an original story about a pop star and a college dropout that is surprisingly meaningful. I enjoyed the premise as well as the blend of entertainment and serious moments, however the main character’s actions really stressed me out. I had high hopes for this book since I enjoyed Emergency Contact, but this one fell a bit flat for me. This book follows Pablo, an NYU dropout working at a deli, when he meets pop star Leanne Smart. Pablo pushes the issues in his personal life aside and tags along on spontaneous international adventures. While this may be a book about a celebrity and a normal person, it is surprisingly not cringey. Leanne and Pablo have many meaningful discussions, and the themes found within the book are surprisingly significant. I also enjoyed the balance of seriousness and fun. Pablo’s experimental snacks in particular made me smile. As well, it is worth mentioning that the ending of the book is pretty unconventional for a contemporary, and while I didn’t care for it, I appreciate the innovation. ❀ BALANCE OF SERIOUSNESS AND FUN One of the main reasons why I didn’t love this book is because of Pablo. Personally, I didn’t agree with a lot of his decisions. He isn’t concerned enough about things like his financial state, but instead he takes off in a private jet with a pop star for the fun of it. Just reading about his debt and how much worse his situation becomes stressed me out, and I just couldn’t handle him taking off instead of dealing with his (incredibly serious) problems. He essentially needs his job to afford to live let alone save for school, and I couldn’t believe how he gives it all up in a second for a chance at love. I understand that it is realistic to have a character who is struggling with finance and identity, and Pablo does have his moments, but his actions are just absurd. ❀ SIGNIFICANT AND ENTERTAINING Permanent Record is a book that is both significant and entertaining as it follows a pop star and a boy who is struggling to get his life together. I found the premise and many elements of the story engaging, however I found that the main character’s attitude and actions really ruined the story. Perhaps others will feel differently, but a main character really makes or breaks a book for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    this book is like the slight more adult version of Somewhere Only We Know (which i thought was profoundly adorable) i really liked how we got to zero in on pablo and his daily struggles whether it be about his financial situation, his education choices, or the fact that he is a mixed kid (korean & pakistani) trying to find his identity and where he fits in i'm not so much interested in the 'famous person' falls for a normie but i think this book did it well. i will admit though, i became this book is like the slight more adult version of Somewhere Only We Know (which i thought was profoundly adorable) i really liked how we got to zero in on pablo and his daily struggles whether it be about his financial situation, his education choices, or the fact that he is a mixed kid (korean & pakistani) trying to find his identity and where he fits in i'm not so much interested in the 'famous person' falls for a normie but i think this book did it well. i will admit though, i became increasingly bored when they were with each other. (the romance part was done better in Somewhere Only We Know in my very honest opinion) however I REALLY liked the ending. it had a great message and expressed it in a realistic, attainable way. i really love when a book can tie things together without being too neat and thats exactly what mary h.k. choi was able to accomplish.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Romie

    this book has so much goodness in it. I really want to emphasise this point. it made me feel seen as a biracial kid. but it also simply made me feel as a person, someone who lost herself at some point, not knowing what she wanted out of life. I kind of separated this book in three parts in my head, the first part made me incredibly excited about this story, the third part made me fall in love with this book, my only 'problem' was the second part. it felt too much like something I would read in a this book has so much goodness in it. I really want to emphasise this point. it made me feel seen as a biracial kid. but it also simply made me feel as a person, someone who lost herself at some point, not knowing what she wanted out of life. I kind of separated this book in three parts in my head, the first part made me incredibly excited about this story, the third part made me fall in love with this book, my only 'problem' was the second part. it felt too much like something I would read in a fanfiction (a good one, but still). I kinda felt disconnected for a time. but as I said, the third part punched me in the feels. it's an incredible book that I absolutely cannot wait to reread (I think the way to go is in one sitting). 4.25 “you don't get to start over every day; you get to keep going.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗

    4.5/5 stars MY HEART HURTS SO MUCH RIGHT NOW DONT TOUCH ME

  26. 4 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    4.5 stars read on my blog **I received an ARC through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** To this day I have no inkling as to what I care about the most. I care about everything equally until I care about so many things I get overwhelmed and care about nothing at all. When it comes to the single thing I want to focus the entire rest of my life on, it’s a muscle I don’t know how to flex. Permanent Record was on my immediate tbr list since I 4.5 stars read on my blog **I received an ARC through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** To this day I have no inkling as to what I care about the most. I care about everything equally until I care about so many things I get overwhelmed and care about nothing at all. When it comes to the single thing I want to focus the entire rest of my life on, it’s a muscle I don’t know how to flex. Permanent Record was on my immediate tbr list since I adored Choi’s debut, Emergency Contact. And her sophomore novel was no slouch either. While I might not relate fully to Choi’s characters here, there are bits and pieces of them that everyone can see themselves in. Permanent Record tells a story of being aimless in your 20’s and of finding yourself when you didn’t think you were lost. I think this book was a lot more like Choi’s personality; to me, the prose read a lot like her tweets, mostly the hype stuff. Also, this is very much a new adult book. Pablo, the protagonist, is 20 years old, and, having dropped out of college, is now in that weird limbo of dealing with “adult” issues but not really feeling much like one. This is such a contemporary book in a way that I’ve found a lot of books aren’t. Choi really understands social media and how teens/young adults interact with it. Pab went viral for his promposal video where he’s rejected, except it was all staged. He then used that clout to gain thousands of followers on his account where he posts pictures of snacks and sneakers. You cannot get more post-2016 than this. Anyways, he’s flailing and struggling to get his life together because, past getting his life together, he doesn’t know what he wants to do. When he meets Leanna Smart, pop-star extraordinaire, they fall head over heels in love with each other. Pab’s pulled into her world of private jets and fancy hotels and room service, but it’s all just a distraction from the mess of his life. That’s really what I found so relatable in this book: Pab doesn’t really know how to get his life together. The motivation is there, but not the actual carrying out of it. This is just so real to me, especially in our society. Being in your 20’s is just aimless wandering around honestly. I also very much related to Pab’s spiraling and obsessing over little things. I have a tendency to fixate on little things, like some random interaction I had with another person, and it quickly turns into something more. It was also interesting having a celebrity as a main character. With Lee, we get to see a deconstruction of the modern pop star: all the nitty-grittyness of fame, paparazzi and non-disclosure agreements and last minute jetsetting and fake hair. This also feeds into what I was saying about how contemporary this novel is. Fame is very much something kids today are obsessed with, and I liked seeing about the negative aspects of it. Lee and Pab’s relationship is so real in a world of fake. I really loved them together, and their scenes were so cute. I mean, at one point Pab doesn’t know what to text back so he reflexively sends the corn emoji and panics! I actually laughed at that part. Why did I pick the corn emoji????!!! Emoji in general are safe, but I should have sent the black heart. It’s less a heart-heart in the love sense and more just a badass pictograph that shows how much I care without seeming like a sap. But I’ve just always liked the corn emoji. IT’S A GOOD EMOJI. They also discuss what it means to be biracial. Lee is half-Mexican, half-white; Pab is half-Pakistani, half-Korean. He, in particular, thinks a lot about being in between the two cultures. I can’t help but wonder how much my people are mine. If they’d claim me in the same way I want to claim them. I also loved his relationship with his family. He’s fighting with his mom because he dropped out of school, he’s trying to take care of his younger brother, and he’s finding his dad embarrassing because of him drifting through life. But through it all, Pab really loves them, and they love him, and there’s just so much support. Also this is such an Asian household, like Pab swats his brother across the head when he finds out he was high. Pab’s friends are also very supporting in their own ways. I liked reading about them, and they have their own humors and whatnot. Ultimately, though, this is a story of Pab finding himself and discovering what to do with his life. I think so many people around this age now will relate so strongly to this; I know I did. Choi did something so special with Permanent Record, capturing the nuances of social media and societal expectations and the current obsession with wealth and fame. This book is a brilliant follow-up to her debut, and I’m eager to read whatever she writes in the future. original review: fucking hell

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Pablo, a college drop out works at the 24-hour Deli where pop icon, Leanna Smart just so happens to visit one night at 4 am. They're both searching for happiness, in very different ways. Thus begins a whirlwind romance they both know will never last, but they can hope. Unfortunately, I listened to this on Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Pablo, a college drop out works at the 24-hour Deli where pop icon, Leanna Smart just so happens to visit one night at 4 am. They're both searching for happiness, in very different ways. Thus begins a whirlwind romance they both know will never last, but they can hope. Unfortunately, I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator brought my enjoyment down a lot. The narrator had the tendency to make every female character sound like a nasally dummy and I didn't enjoy it one bit. The overall story was enjoyable though. I liked how the story followed Pablo and his questioning of what he wanted in life. I liked his complicated relationship with his family and friends. I liked how it talked about depression and student-debt in a very organic way. I was not a fan of Lee, she definitely brought my rating down as well. She came across as self-centered and egotistical to me, granted she lives a life of luxury. At times she didn't care about how Pablo was feeling, only about herself in any given situation. The book was mostly just Pablo obsessing and chasing Lee around, which became frustrating very quickly. The ending was definitely my favourite part, seeing Pablo begin to get his life back on track was a highlight for me. I wish there was more of a focus on Pablo reaching out and getting the help he needed rather than him just magically becoming better with no explanation, but c'est la vie.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sylvie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was bored the entire time while reading this, however it had moments sometimes,I guess; So, what I liked about the book: The cover. The more illustrated covers I see the more I pick up the book. The diverse characters. Almost every character had a different background and the protagonist was biracial. The summary. From a guy's PoV, most of ya books I read are from girl’s POV, so this was refreshing for me. What I didn’t like: Everything else. I read this book almost a week ago and I honestly don’t I was bored the entire time while reading this, however it had moments sometimes,I guess; So, what I liked about the book: The cover. The more illustrated covers I see the more I pick up the book. The diverse characters. Almost every character had a different background and the protagonist was biracial. The summary. From a guy's PoV, most of ya books I read are from girl’s POV, so this was refreshing for me. What I didn’t like: Everything else. I read this book almost a week ago and I honestly don’t even remember the names of the characters, nothing was memorable if you ask me. I was bored the entire time due to lack of plot line. Nothing really happened in the book except in the last few chapters when the main character comes to a realization about his future and what he wants to do with it etc, etc but that’s it all about it. If I have to describe the genre of this book I’d have to say it’s a coming of age story but a very dull and not eye opening kind.

  29. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI ♠

    this author's contemporary books always have covers that belong in art museums

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    'Emoji in general are safe, but I should have sent the black heart. It's less a heart-heart in the love sense and more just a badass pictograph that shows how much I care without seeming like a sap.' Ah, it's been a conflict city up here ever since reading this book! Even though I finished it back in October, I just couldn't sit and write down what I thought about Permanent Record. It's a good book since I highlighted so many lines (see the favorite quotes section below, hee), but it didn't bowl 'Emoji in general are safe, but I should have sent the black heart. It's less a heart-heart in the love sense and more just a badass pictograph that shows how much I care without seeming like a sap.' Ah, it's been a conflict city up here ever since reading this book! Even though I finished it back in October, I just couldn't sit and write down what I thought about Permanent Record. It's a good book since I highlighted so many lines (see the favorite quotes section below, hee), but it didn't bowl me over completely. I guess, I feel like this book tried to be a lot of things or rather, tried to have the main character go through as many life experiences as it could and that just didn't work in its favor. At its core, Permanent Record is about Pablo hurtling towards total self-destruction evident all the more due to the stream of consciousness narration. As such, I highly appreciate books that explore failure in all its highs and lows and Permanent Record is definitely such a book. However, it gets simply tedious being inside Pablo's mind for the entirety of the book and it doesn't help that he's a grade a self-sabotager in extreme denial and depression and just not doing anything about it at all. And that's exactly wherein the problem lies because I just didn't have the patience for Pablo to move from one bad decision to the next and pretty much spent reading most of the book hoping that the entire ordeal be somehow over and done with soon. It's ironic because I myself have gone through such a stage in my life, but I annoyed myself so much with my behavior that tolerating a fictional character going through the same thing easily made me see red. Heh. So safe to say that while I appreciate the story Choi wrote, I didn't end up enjoying it as much as I was hoping. For the most part, the story is about Pablo and his struggles and yet every other character or thing that happens to him reads like yet another lesson to be learned more than an organic progression of the story for the sole purpose of seeing just how much could Pablo take and what he'd end up doing as a result of this new thing that has now happened. Sigh. When it comes to representation, I loved that Pablo is Korean Pakistani and it was great seeing him have discussions about being biracial with Leanna Smart, who's half-Mexican and half-white, even though I don't feel that her character was developed more than a caricature of a world famous pop star. It kind of feels like she was only present in the story just so Pablo could judge her from every angle, which was infuriating since Pablo has none of shit together to warrant such behavior. That's actually also true of how he treats his friends and people in general. He does realize this bad habit of his eventually so points for character development, I guess. Most importantly, I would 100% read a book about Rain, Pablo's younger brother. This middle schooler tried to sell vibrators at his school, what a legend LOL. Pablo's sibling dynamic with Rain was also my favorite thing about the book even though Pablo did screw things up with him, too (ง •̀_•́)ง I also have to mention Pablo's parents and how realistically they were written. Fear of disappointing your parents is very much something that's ingrained in Asian cultures and while it's apparent that parents do love their children, it can be very hard to come clean about the huge messes in your life to them. In Pablo's case, they did try and intervene on their own, which was something to see but Pablos is Pablo afterall, ha. Anyway, I really do hope I like Choi's Emergency Contact better than I liked this, but I'd still recommend Permanent Record to anyone who'd like to read about a character actively not dealing with his failures and being a mess of a human being in general. Oh and Pablo's snack making skills are amazing and I now believe that snacking is truly a form of art. Favorite quotes: 'I care about everything equally until I care about so many things I get overwhelmed and care about nothing at all.' 'What've you been up to? 'I have stood right here since you left. Contemplating mortality and the human condition. I power down when my shift's over.' 'But home isn't a place, he comes to realize; it's wherever you find acceptance and support.' 'I can't adult. Most days I can barely human.' 'So, what's the distance between your true self and how people perceive you?' 'I'm going from zero to sixty for fight-or-flight responses, and I'm ready to pulverize a crew of thugs or hop aboard a plane with a "very particular set of skills."' 'Life's hard, man. Trying to get better at the thing you want to be the best at is humiliating.' 'I've bristled whenever people say they're proud of me. It's so patronizing and presumptuous—as if their satisfaction was chief among the reasons to do anything—' 'Life isn't a destination. It's the continual practice of things that make you wiser and happier.'

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