...Mary H.K. Choi is quietly defining new-adult literature with her modern explorations of how relationships help young people figure out who they really are. Her new book...is not especially edgy or sexy, but it does feel precisely like that confusing period between high school and adulthood where so many of us flail around, trying to figure out what we actually want from life ... Pablo is the kind of charismatic, charming screw-up who's so much fun to hang out with, but the longer you spend with him, the more you find yourself getting frustrated ... Choi has a real gift for creating a character so real and complex that she can crack his psyche open like a melon and pick through all the gnarly seeds ... Permanent Record follows a flawed but lovable character as he learns to accept the mistakes he has made during that time and finds a way to build a future around them.
Choi...has penned a smart and funny read that is as much about finding your path as it is about falling in love. Pablo is a winning narrator with a natural voice, and readers will root for him in his romance with Lee, as well as on his rocky journey to self-actualization. Choi’s specificity, realistic dialogue, and humor ensure that the personal and romantic journeys feel warm and rewarding but never saccharine.
Although the outcome of the whirlwind love affair is fairly predictable, Choi...provides a lively cast of characters, especially the members of Pablo’s eclectic family ... If the conclusion of the novel seems rushed, the rising action—filled with conflict, captivating events, and authentic-sounding, often humorous dialogue—will win readers, and teens like Pablo, who are unsure who they want to be, will relate to his dilemmas.
While the language has a contemporary feel and the range of diverse, appealing characters accurately reflects modern-day New York, the plot frequently drags, and character development is weak. Hip characters and jargon adorn a predictable storyline and unconvincing romance.