*This is a book review of Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi.
“To this day I have no inkling as to what I care about the most. I care about everything equally until I care about so many things I get overwhelmed and care about nothing at all. When it comes to the single thing I want to focus the entire rest of my life on, it’s a muscle I don’t know how to flex.”– Pablo Rind
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Young adult fiction
Main Characters: Pablo Rind & Leanna Smart
Number of Pages: 432
SJ Rating: 59%
After life throws a series of unfortunate events at Pablo Rind (I’m talking student loan debt as a college dropout, credit card debt, past due rent all before twenty), a chance encounter with Leanna Smart, famous celebrity since childhood, changes his dwindling college dropout life. Only, is it for better or worse? And is their love actually worth it?
Honestly, there’s not much I can say I really liked about this book. There were a few things that stood out, but it was mostly a *meh* book, something to read when there is literally nothing else to do and nothing else to read.
I will say, I truly appreciate the mention of Trayvon Martin towards the beginning. Furthermore, the main characters as well as the supporting characters are all of different and mixed ethnicities, which I enjoyed.
There are lots of pop culture references, some of which I had to google because they go beyond my standard American knowledge. Lee (short for Leanna Smart) and Pab (short for Pablo Rind) saying “tell me anything” to each other throughout the book drove my mind back to Tell Me Three Things, which I appreciated [and did a review of].
When it comes to the romantic relationship between Lee and Pab, I couldn’t stop smiling during the small makeover scene; the role reversal was a nice touch to the plot of the book. Their awkward, imperfect first kiss is also incredibly adorable and had me smiling; I literally think those are the only moments I smiled while reading the book.
Most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book entirely from the male’s perspective. This is the first book I’ve read like that.
Speaking of Pablo, there are several moments where I found him incredibly relatable; he is also equally confused about what he wants to do with his life. Though we’re at different places in our lives as young adults, I still found some of the things he says and thinks and does to be relatable. Like, when he says, “Why isn’t there a mandatory course on how to college before college?” or “I can’t adult. Most days I can barely human.” Plus, when he moved out for his sanity and the sake of preserving an important relationship… FELT.
Though I appreciate how relatable Pablo is, especially as a post-school confused human, he can be a real asshole. As the main protagonist, Pab is not very likable. At times, I liked it because it was different; at other moments, I found myself being incredibly frustrated and annoyed to the point where I didn’t want to keep reading.
After laboring through most of the book, I found the character development towards the end to be a little too quick; I wish it were more gradual throughout the book. When you do think Pab is going to have a small moment of self-growth, he lets you down and resorts to being a jerk. Then, all of a sudden, he experiences a bunch of character development that literally makes no sense.
This review doesn’t have as many spoilers as those in the past because there is literally nothing to spoil. I don’t absolutely hate the book; I just feel like I wasted my time reading it. There were several moments of redundancy to the point where the act of reading the book annoyed me.
Next book to be read and reviewed: Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra Jonas
“Life isn’t a destination. It’s the continual practice of things that make you wiser and happier.”– Pablo Rind’s father