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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.
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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