Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Review: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Having been such a big fan of Emergency Contact, seriously people, go read it, I was desperate to get my hands on Permanent Record. I am so thrilled the universe heard my pleas and so excited to be on the blog tour today for yet another fabulous Choi book!


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…


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The strongest part of Permanent Record that stuck with me, is that this book defied my expectations. Not only does this book start with a precious meet cute moment, but it’s not only about this love story line. It’s more than that. It’s a story about personal discovery, our own future, representation, and family. In a world full of expectations and chosen paths, the fear and pressure of not knowing what is next, what to do, can be crushing. That’s definitely one of the reasons why Permanent Record stuck with me – I’m in that exact moment now.

Because it’s universal, not only to one moment in time. Pablo is dealing with the transition after high school, the moments of adulthood and credit card debt, and those questions about our career. But it’s that feeling that keeps coming back to us as we look up from our path to wonder how we got there. Permanent Record is a book dedicated to personal discovery not only in the sense of our future, but also in the sense of our place within our family, with our heritage, and the expectations and disappointment within that. Not knowing which identity we can claim. Both Pablo and Leanna are biracial and their feelings of being in between are achingly relatable.

Throughout Permanent Record, we are asked about authenticity, expectations, and mistakes. What, of what we are seeing, is truly authentic? Is it just a matter of our perceptions and expectations? How to we fix, recognize, or remedy our mistakes when we’ve been seeing only what we want to see? Amid this world of social media and images, connections and disappearances, what do we hold on to at the end of the day? Being torn between knowing what you want to do and the terror of reaching for it.

Sometimes we become so caught up in something, we are swept away. Faced not with our best, but with the mistakes we’re bound to make when we can’t see beyond this moment. When we are piled underneath mountains, and we have a moment of clarity wondering how we got there. In this way, Permanent Record is story for all of us who question our direction. It’s full of hard truths when we’ve become complacent, or when things have become too hard. But it’s also a story about figuring out who we are.

Find Permanent Record on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.

About the Author

Mary H.K. Choi is a writer for The New York TimesGQWired, and The Atlantic. She has written comics for Marvel and DC, as well as a collection of essays called Oh, Never Mind. Her debut novel Emergency Contact was a New York Times bestseller. She is the host of Hey, Cool Job!, a podcast about jobs and Hey, Cool Life!, a podcast about mental health and creativity. Mary grew up in Hong Kong and Texas and now lives in New York. Follow her on Twitter @ChoitotheWorld.

Tour Schedule

August 26thVicky Who Reads

August 27thAdventures of a Book Junkie

August 28thUtopia State of Mind

August 29thRead by Tiffany

August 30thRich in Color

August 31stYour Tita Kate

September 2ndBooks on Pointe

September 3rdAndi’s ABCs

September 4thBook Scents

September 5thTwirling Pages

September 6thBookshelves & Paperbacks

September 9thYA Bibliophile

September 10thMary Had A Little Book Blog

September 11thChasing Faerytales

September 12thNicole’s Novel Reads

September 13thMel to the Any


Who is an author whose sophomore (second) book is just as good, or better, than the first?

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2 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Review: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

  1. You always write amazing reviews, Lili! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book or not, but now I think I will. I love books about personal discovery and family, so this actually sounds like something I would really enjoy.

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