Book Review: Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi

Title: Permanent Record

Author: Mary H. K. Choi

Rating: 4/5 stars

Release date: 

November 7th 2019 by Atom (first published 3rd September 2019)

Publisher: Atom

Goodreads 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…


Wow, reading this book felt like such a blur to me. Everything happened so quickly and spontaneously that you don’t even have the time to properly wrap your head around things. The plot is a little over the place, which reflects the MC’s life in lots of ways, but was hard for me to decipher if there was even any plot to start with. That being said, this novel definitely has more of a slice of life story and is more character driven.

I did have quite a few problems with the book, namely with the main character and his love interest. I had trouble relating to the love interest and the MC can get so aggravating at times . Maybe the problem with the love interest is that we don’t get to see things from her POV at all, which is totally fine, but that made it look like she was just a plot device, which is a little sad because hearing her side of things could have been so much more interesting. She has so much depth as a character, but we did not get to explore any of that at all, which is a shame.

Nonetheless, the emotions that were portrayed by Pab were so realistic and relatable it hurts 😥 The story and narrative feels so painfully real – I can understand the struggles that Pablo go through because the way the author puts his thoughts into words just really hits. The tone of his voice does not sound curated, and the book reads a lot like a personal diary/journal (not exactly in writing, but in authenticity), which really makes you connect with Pablo.

I love that this book reminds us that crazy good things, bad things, and weird things happen in our lives in totally unexpected ways, and that we either have to live with it, fight it, be grateful for it or learn from it. The arc of the story packs a punch, and the family dynamic hits so hard, I felt the need to ring up my parents upon finishing the book. I have so much love for the slice of life elements in this novel. I cannot wait to read more of Mary H. K. Choi’s work!

Thank you so much Hachette Australia for sending over a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

If you’re interested in buying Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂


    1. Cups and Thoughts

      it’s a bit all over the place, but i think that’s intended 🙂 based on the reviews i’ve seen, it’s a hit or miss. i do hope you enjoy it if you decide to pick it up though! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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