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Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Young adult

Permanent Record

by Mary H.K. Choi

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Quick Take

From the author of Emergency Contact, a coming-of-age read that gets what aimlessly navigating your 20s feels like.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Fast_Read

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, 400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Snarky

    Snarky

Synopsis

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…

Why I love it

What we love most about recommending books for “Why Not YA?” is the reaction we get from readers when they dive into a YA novel they didn’t know they needed to read. And that’s exactly how we feel about Mary H.K. Choi’s Permanent Record.

In Permanent Record we meet Pablo, a recent NYU dropout who works at a bodega, just trying to figure out his life. One night while he’s working the graveyard shift, in walks Leanna Smart—a child star with a rabid fan base (think Ariana Grande or Selena Gomez)—and soon, a romance forms. What follows is a story written with so much honesty. We cringed as we watched Pablo make countless financial mistakes—but we also silently felt what that meant for his future, because haven’t we all done that at some point? We also deeply related to Pablo’s conflicted feelings on intimacy in the age of social media; on the one hand, we’re all connected, but on the other, there’s this element of isolation.

This book was easily a favorite to read, and the conversation we struck up with Mary just sealed the deal. A pop culture writer herself, Mary drew on her own experiences (I mean come on, she was one of only 140 journalists who got to jet-set with RiRi), and you can absolutely sense that in this story. At first you might be annoyed with Leanna, the pop culture icon—but as you get to know her, you’ll start to feel for her, and inevitably, you’ll be rooting for a relationship with so many odds stacked against it. Permanent Record is a roller coaster in the best possible way. It’s your juicy, funny, adorable, and utterly ridiculous rom-com that you must read now.

Young adult
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Young adult
View all
Ruthless Vows
The Revenant Games
What the River Knows
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
Dragonfruit
Gwen & Art Are Not in Love
Divine Rivals
Legendborn
Foul Lady Fortune
Anna K Away
A Wilderness of Stars
Firekeeper's Daughter
Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Warrior Girl Unearthed
Bloodmarked
Star Daughter
Not So Pure and Simple
Throw Like a Girl
The Queen of Nothing
On the Come Up
Wayward Son
Anna K
The Rest of the Story
With the Fire on High
The Red Scrolls of Magic
This Time Will Be Different
Yes No Maybe So
The Gilded Wolves
Permanent Record
Wicked Saints
Dangerous Alliance
The Sound of Stars
All the Stars and Teeth
Where the World Ends
When the Stars Lead to You
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Ten Thousand Doors of January
The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Saving Zoë
Hello Girls
Mind Games
Storm and Fury
There's Something About Sweetie
Again, But Better
We Hunt the Flame
Sky Without Stars
You'd Be Mine
Opposite of Always
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
Enchantée
The Astonishing Color of After
Top Ten
Little & Lion
The Impossible Fortress
Girls in the Moon
You Will Know Me