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…
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada and Net Galley for sending me an advanced copy of Permanent Record in exchange for an honest review.
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi was one of my favourite books of 2018 and one that I have continued to reread and recommend to friends and students alike. I've been waiting for her to release another book, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of Permanent Record! This is an entirely different books with entirely different characters and I enjoyed getting to dive into it.
It took so long for me to really get into the story. While I ended up really enjoying getting to know Pablo, I had a really hard time connecting with him at the beginning of the book. He just was so different than what I was expecting that it was hard to really understand what his life is like. I’m happy that I stuck with it though because it pays off in the end when we really see so much growth from him. His story may not be mine, but I’m sure his life closely parallels a lot of twenty-something’s who are struggling to figure out who they are, so I love that he exists as a character. But the beginning was definitely a hurdle and I really had to force myself to go back to this book and commit to finishing it.
Something I was surprised at was that this book only has Pablo’s perspective. Not having both POVs made it a lot harder for me to really care about these characters, specifically Leanna. Although Pab grew on me, Lee never really developed as a character and I was constantly frustrated with her. While Pab clearly loves her, I just couldn’t get there. While Lee has a huge impact in Pablo’s life, she was actually the biggest drawback of the story for me, in large part because I never really felt like I knew her. I worry that I might be comparing Permanent Record to Emergency Contact, but only having Pab’s POV in this novel made me feel like I was missing part of the story.
Ahhh, So Many Good Life Lessons
I really wish I could quote this book (I’m can’t because it’s an ARC) because there are so many AMAZING lines that I want to post about. What I can say is that Pablo’s journey is so important because I know it’s one that so many twenty-somethings are facing in the world. The idea that teens are supposed to have their life together when they get to university or college is ludicrous, and it’s only more impossible once financials come into it. We’re constantly holding ourselves up to the lives that other people live and it’s way too easy to find ourselves falling short. Pab’s story of trying to actually come to grips with his reality is important and I felt like I flew through the second half of the book in anticipation of where his story would go.
Overall, I thought this was a solid second novel from Mary H.K. Choi. Although it was a slower start for me, there are a lot of reasons I would still recommend this to people. If you are a fan of character-driven or contemporary novels, than this is a strong suggestion for you. Permanent Record came out this week and I’d love to know what you thought about it!
FINAL RATING: 3.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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