Permanent Record Review and Blog Tour

The illustration is a line drawing of two faces. They are very close and look like they may kiss. The one on the left is male and shaded blue with dark hair. The one on the right is shaded with a pink/peach color.

We’re excited to be part of the Permanent Record Blog Tour!

Title: Permanent Record
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Review Copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley

Summary: 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.

Review: Life for Pablo is definitely taking a troubling turn. They guy has a lot going on in his life and he’s making choices that continue to multiply and exacerbate those problems. When Pablo looks at his bills and tries to think about what he’s going to do with his life, he pushes everything away and decides not to decide. He’s basically stuck and doesn’t know how to get out of his own trap. He uses his charm in an attempt to save himself over and over again when he’s not just blowing people off and treating them horribly. Some readers may not like him spite of the wattage of his charm.

His central plan is avoidance or distraction. This is true with debts, decisions, and in relationships. I felt for the guy though. At one point he ponders about how unfit young people are to make life changing decisions like college majors. Brains aren’t even completely developed when most people are starting college and choosing their life path. Young people are asked to make huge decisions with lifetime ramifications when some of them are simply not ready yet. Pab cannot figure things out and in the meantime his looming debt is just making every single thing more stressful.

The kid is bright though and his word play and repartee had me laughing even in the midst of his often cringey decision making. The conversations between Leanna and Pablo are especially entertaining. Leanna can also make some sketchy decisions and both of them managed to show their humanity and individuality. They’re coming of age in a bumbling sort of way which makes the whole story more endearing than annoying for me. Pab is also talented when it comes to making and choosing snacks. I definitely wanted to give some of those a try.

I really appreciated the look into Pab and his relationships with his parents. His mother is Korean and his father is Pakistani. They live their lives in two very different ways, but they both want good things for their children. Pab thinks he knows what his parents think and why, but there have been misunderstandings between them for a long time. His little brother is also a lot of fun. He adds yet another interesting perspective. He is quite precocious and enterprising. The two siblings really care for each other and that relationship was a highlight for me even though it wasn’t a huge part of the story.

Though much of this story is outside my lived experience, the book was very relatable as Pab questions his future and gets bogged down in mistakes. Even his failure to simply ask for guidance or help was almost too realistic for me. I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit.

Recommendation: Get it as soon as you can especially if you enjoy your contemporary novels  with a bit of romance, a dash of social media drama, friendship and family complications, and interesting snack ideas. Pab and Leanna will likely inspire laughter as well as introspection.

Blog Tour Schedule

August 26thVicky Who Reads

August 27thAdventures of a Book Junkie

August 28thUtopia State of Mind

August 29thRead by Tiffany

August 30thRich in Color

August 31stYour Tita Kate

September 2ndBooks on Pointe

September 3rdAndi’s ABCs

September 4thBook Scents

September 5thTwirling Pages

September 6thBookshelves & Paperbacks

September 9thYA Bibliophile

September 10thMary Had A Little Book Blog

September 11thChasing Faerytales

September 12thNicole’s Novel Reads

September 13thMel to the Any

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.