Title: Permanent Record

Author: Mary H K Choi

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK

The Blurb

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.

Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.

When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Leanna and Pablo turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.

The Review

Permanent Record is a sort of reverse Cinderella story between a young man, Pablo who is struggling to try and fit in to his position as adult and Leanna who is a celebrity who is confused by her desire for normality without losing the fame and fortune she has accrued.

Let’s start with Pablo: He is a college dropout, seriously in debt, can’t figure out what he wants to do but knows that he wants to make a fortune doing it. He wants to be successful but does not want to accept that success is hard work. He has a complicated relationship with his family and often screws up monumentally.

Leanna is a pop star/childhood sensation who cannot cut her hair without making global news. She longs for normality but actually doesn’t know how to be normal because her normal is so different from everyone else’s that she often acts selfishly without realising that she cannot solve her problems by throwing her wealth around.

They make an unlikely pair but as a reader you really root for them to be together. My one negative about the book isn’t really a negative about the book. That sounds a bit confusing but her me out. I am not a young adult. I enjoy YA fiction but I am a fully grown adult in my thirties and at time I didn’t quite understand the vernacular used by the characters. That is on me though. Mary H K Choi is writing for a very different age group who would know about the things that I found confusing.

Permanent Record is a really good story that has two highly flawed but likeable characters. Make sure you add it to your to be read list.

Permanent Record by Mary H K Choi is available now.

For more information regarding Mary H K Choi (@choitotheworld) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Emergency ContactTitle: Emergency Contact

Author: Mary H K Choi

Pages: 394 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

“Smart and funny, with characters so real and vulnerable, you want to send them care packages. I loved this book.” —Rainbow Rowell

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

The Review

Emergency Contact is a wonderful novel set in that post-YA/pre-NA genre which for me personally is an under explored category. It is set during the first year of university when our protagonists are just figuring out how to be adults along with figuring out who they are meant to be. It is such a joy to see writers explore this time period.

The story’s protagonist, Penny, is a bit of a loner. Her high school life was ok but she has been waiting for her real life to begin and t finally does when she starts university. Here, through a mutual friend, she meets Sam. Sam has been bruised by life so far but t is when their worlds collide that they start to really discover themselves along with each other.

At its heart, Emergency Contact is a love story, and whilst I will admit I did find it hard to get into at first, I started to fall for the characters and their desperate stories. Mary H K Choi has definitely written a winner with Emergency Contact.

Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi is available now.

For more information regarding Mary H. K. Choi (@choitotheworld) please visit www.simonandschuster.com/books/EmergencyContact.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) please visit www.simonandschuster.com.

4 Stars