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

I picked up this book because it was one of Belletrist’s (@belletrist) YA novel picks and I just needed a break from all these thrillers. I don’t even know how I managed to read three scary/thrilling novels in a row, but it happened. They were full of crime, drama, and suspense that kept me wanting more. I couldn’t help myself! “Permanent Record” by Mary H.K. Choi was the book I needed to switch it up. It was SO GOOD, guys. Honestly, why do we not bother with YA when we’re older? What’s wrong with it? Sometimes you just need to read something a little more lighthearted! Sometimes you’ll end up learning more than you expected, like I did!

Permanent Record is about this 20 year-old boy named Pablo. He works at a 24-hour organic foods store or a “bodega” (I’m still unfamiliar with this term lol, but that’s what they called it) and he usually works the overnight shift. Pablo was accepted to NYU but he didn’t have enough money saved to attend. He ended up dropping out because he also didn’t put enough effort, so now he’s working to *try* to pay off some serious credit card debt that the NYU situation put him in. He’s really trying to get back into NYU before his chance is completely ruined, but he can’t seem to find the motivation. Pablo is one of those guys that’s great at so many things but has no idea what he wants to do in life. He’s also pretty scared to fully commit to anything. His parents are concerned about him. His friends are concerned him. Mr. and Mrs. Kim, the owners of the bodega, are also concerned about him. Pablo’s just coasting and living with his head in the clouds. He’s in denial and does not want to face the reality that he needs to buckle down and do something more. One night (or morning, since it was 4AM) during his shift, Pablo is interrupted by a girl that he recognizes but doesn’t recognize – you know those ones? Her name is Leanna Smart. The two of them click and hit it off right away. They bond over their love for snacks and the weird but tasty snack combinations that they come up with. It’s kind of an art to Pablo. He has an Instagram dedicated to it. Leanna finds him refreshing, especially since he doesn’t recognize who she is right away. The Leanna Smart has been famous and successful since she was eight years old. Pablo had no idea he would soon be dating a superstar. You can find her face EVERYWHERE (billboards, radio, TV, etc.). It’s actually kind of concerning that he didn’t recognize her right away.

From then, it’s a whirlwind romance. They are absolutely crazy about each other, and Pablo is introduced to this lavish lifestyle that he can’t even believe. He can’t believe it so he doesn’t even bother to tell anyone in his life about her or what he’s been up to. He just takes off in her airplane and doesn’t tell anyone where he’s going! It’s not just the fact that he doesn’t want to do anything to ruin what seems like a dream to him, but Pablo also can’t say anything because he’s had to sign a NDA.

Now without basically telling you the entire story, Pablo and Leanna don’t work out. I know what you’re thinking. No happily ever after? But Pablo gets the push he needs! Although they don’t end up together, Pablo learns a lot from his experience with Leanna, and everything that happens after they break up. I learned a lot as well. I learned that life is about doing and not waiting. Everything also happens at its own pace. To be honest, this book came to me at the right time. I was confused and very distraught about not knowing what my calling is. Am I just going to work in retail forever? I know I can accomplish more. I know that I am capable of doing more, but it’s okay to not know what “more” is right now. This move to Free People has been what I needed to clear my head. I love customer service (as crazy as that sounds) and I love styling and shopping. I know that one day it will all click. There’s a higher calling and I know it will come to me when I’m ready!

It’s actually insane how I got this sort of epiphany from reading a YA novel like this. However, if you’re going through something similar, I strongly believe that you shouldn’t give up on yourself. Also, don’t expect anything to just happen right away! If it’s meant to be, it will be. And sometimes bad things happen, and you fail, and it hurts, but that’s life! Everything will get better, you just can’t give up on yourself. You. Are. Awesome.

Please check out this book if you’re looking for something new to read! Like I said, you can learn something! Why not YA? Don’t judge a book by it’s cover! ;))

Until next time,

– Tiny ❤

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