Book of the Month YA: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

In addition to getting a Book of the Month subscription, I also get a YA Book of the Month. Now, this month, I had a hard time picking out which book to get. It was a cross between Frankly In Love by David Yoon and Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi. The reason why I chose this novel was because I read Choi’s other novel, Emergency Contact, and wanted to check out her latest read. (And, side note: I have Frankly In Love on my Kindle to read next).

Summary:

Dating a pop star is every man’s dream. That dream becomes reality for Pablo Rind. When he runs into pop star Leanna Smart, he falls madly in love with her. And, the love becomes mutual.

However, Pablo isn’t exactly the greatest on paper. He is a college dropout and faces thousands and thousands of dollars of credit card debt. At the start of the novel, he is behind on rent and works nights at a deli.

Over the course of the novel, he of course falls madly in love with Leanna – to the point where he neglects all other responsibilities. Of course, that’s the stereotypical love story, isn’t it? Soon, Pablo begins to ignite change.

Review:

I loved this book, and almost cried at the end of it. No, I’m not going to give the ending away. But, I will give you one little hint – the novel doesn’t have the standard Hallmark ending. Which is something that I liked about it.

Social media is a huge part of this book. Pablo constantly posts photos of foods on his Instagram. Many of the characters often discuss it. And, it’s a priority to check it constantly. This shows how Instagram has become a huge priority of millennial culture. Which is true. How many of us – myself included – are checking Instagram throughout the day? How many of us constantly post photos on our stories and on our pages? I mean, I’m guilty of it too. Social media has changed us – our relationships, and how we communicate. It also is a huge time suck. This novel also demonstrates it. And, furthermore, it also shows how one can make a living just by posting.

Now, let’s talk about Pablo. I thought he was kind of an awful character. He was pretty lost at the beginning of the novel. That happens. However, it frustrated me that he didn’t want to do anything about it. It also bothered me how self-centered he was, especially while dating Leanna Smart. His brother was having crisis after crisis and really needed support. Instead of being there for him, Pablo took off to be with Leanna. He also neglected important meetings, and even his job. I almost wanted to jump into the novel and say “get your life together, for heaven’s sake!”

Furthermore, you also get an inside of fame, which isn’t surprising since Leanna was a celebrity. I liked her methodology of dodging paparazzi and the real moments she shared with her grandmother. She also craved privacy in her relationship with Pablo.

This leads me into my next point. I think that Choi did an outstanding job demonstrating the relationship between the two. Leanna often ditched Pablo because of work and left him hanging out in a hotel room. She couldn’t even follow him on Instagram without eyebrows being raised. She did what she could to hide Pablo. However, she treated him to expensive things that he couldn’t afford. All of these things are hallmarks of the celebrity relationship.

With that being said, I did enjoy the novel. What I like about Choi’s writing is that it’s real. It’s about real relationships, and the characters feel real. I mean, many millennials are having to face the issues that Pablo is facing – crippling debt, trying to figure out what to do with the future, etc. This novel feels relatable, which is something that I liked most about it.

Overall, if you see this novel lingering in your local bookstore and you love YA, be sure to pick it up. Trust me, you will love it.

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