PERMANENT RECORD by Mary H. K. Choi

Mary HK Choi new book cover reveal Credit: ohgigue

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…


Title : Permanent Record
Author : Mary H. K. Choi
Format : ARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Release Date : September 3, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

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. 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. **

6 thoughts on “PERMANENT RECORD by Mary H. K. Choi”

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