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Permanent Record

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  238 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Being yourself can be such a bad idea.

For sixteen-year-old Badi Hessamizadeh, life is a series of humiliations. After withdrawing from public school under mysterious circumstances, Badi enters Magnificat Academy. To make things “easier,” his dad has even given him a new name: Bud Hess. Grappling with his Iranian-American identity, clinical depression, bullying, and a barel
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Skyscape
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  238 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Renée Ahdieh
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was such a unique novel for me, in so many ways.

First of all, Stella's choice to use an Iranian/American protagonist was such a refreshing change of pace in a world of YA fiction where I find that, overwhelmingly, the landscape tends to favor main characters of a more uniform persuasion.

The fact that Badi/Bud suffers from debilitating clinical depression and an anxiety disorder further exacerbated by a lifetime of bullying from his classmates and the subsequent lack of understanding by his
Faye, la Patata
Can also be read on The Social Potato.

Thank you, NetGalley, and Amazon Children Publishing for sending a copy of the book in exchange for a review. I also would like to thank Leslie Stella for writing such a wonderful piece of work. I read it within 24 hours, and during that span of time, I've lost count of the numerous instances where my heart was about to burst out with so much outrage, excitement, frustration, happiness, sadness... the list of intense feelings could go on and on and on...

If t
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Have you ever been an outcast who doesn’t fit? Were you picked on, bullied, emotionally and possibly physically assaulted for being different? Worse, were you ever one of the bullies? Leslie Stella has told the nightmarish story of a young Iranian-American boy who was the constant object of ridicule and scorn because he was different. Suffering from debilitating clinical depression and an anxiety disorder , Badi/Ben not only suffers at school as an outcast, but receives little to no support from ...more
Joe Collier
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Yes, I gave this book five stars. Because this is a book that will stop people in their tracks, will inspire. I'm not gonna lie, I teared up a little bit at the end, too. I think it's Stella's best book, hands-down. Absolutely complete, there are no holes in this story--it's tight, compelling, heartwarming, funny, and credibly set in Chicago (and in my old neighborhood of eight years, so even better for me).

Teenagers are going to flip for this book. It is truly speaking their language, but not t
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I will not spoil the ending of this one, but darn it, it really makes the novel a keeper.

One thing you have to have in any novel about high school are a memorable and lovable supporting cast. Badi is a strong narrator, who is very in touch with his panic attacks and his appetite destroying depression, both of these conditions are expertly written by Stella. And Badi suffers A LOT more than other young adult heroes. By the end of the novel, he is bandaged and bruised.

Stella manages to capture Ba
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Permanent Record Review
Full formatting of this review at link above.
See the author interview at link above!

I really enjoyed PERMANENT RECORD. It was probably the most.. real book I have ever read. The cast of characters was phenomenal, each one different. I was surprised at how even the minor characters added so much depth to the story.

Badi Hessamizadeh, AKA "Bud Hess," might be just my favorite male narrator ever. He is picked on
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Set in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, this YA novel has a very realistic quality to it. Badi/Bud, the main character, has an edge to him - his anger and angst gives his narrative a unique and entertaining flow. But the book tackles harder issues than a lot of the YA fluff - Badi has been victimized at first his public school, and now at his new Catholic school as well. Along with bullying, the book also tackles racism, diversity and the relationships present in a school setting. The bo ...more
Rae Quigley
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It’s rare enough to find a main character that is male in YA, let alone one that is Iranian. That alone makes this book fresh and interesting. Badi’s story is one that a lot of people can at least recognize, if not relate personally. These are characters that you see at every high school across America. While you’re reading, you can’t help but feel like you are Badi. Each action by each supporting character made me just as upset as he felt. I would get so angry at his ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it

PERMANENT RECORD was already getting rave reviews when I read it, but I found it disappointing. I never really connected to the main character or story. Badi Hessamizadeh is starting over at private school following being kicked out of his previous school for destructive behavior. He quickly starts to make waves, especially by refusing to participate in the chocolate bar fundraiser.

I thought the parallels with THE CHOCOLATE WAR (which Badi is reading in school) were clever, but never really went
I liked this book well enough. It was a quick read, kept me interested. I wish there hadn't been so much ableist language in it, seeing how mental health was a main theme. I seriously don't know what it is with authors writing these books with a heavy presence of mental health, and/or disabilities, yet filling them to the brim with ableist slurs and ideas. It's counterproductive. Having characters call people "stupid" and "crazy" and "dumb" and every other ableist slur, and it being portrayed as ...more
First of all, Badi is an awesome name.

It's a story about an Iranian American teenager whose anxiety is destroying his life. His family is well-meaning but the opposite of helpful. Badi's relationship with his parents sells this story, it's realistic and utterly sad because you can tell there can be no progress until he moves out and builds an acceptable facade (or doesn't, and never talks to mom and dad again). They're hurting but don't understand why therapy and depression are a thing, he's hur
Apr 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
More suited for middle grade

I really liked how the author handled the topic of mental illness. I loved that the MC was a POC. The wtiting was easy to follow, but didn't really feel like all of the conflict got resolved. I feel bad for giving it a one star. It wasn't a bad book. I just wouldn't ever read it again or recommend it to anyone.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book was okay. I felt like the author focused too much on making Bud easy to relate to. It just ended up seeming that the author is very out of touch with youth.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, reviewed
Adolescence is tough and is getting tougher each generation it would seem. When you're dealing with additional external, unprovoked and unpleasant factors, coupled with a brain that doesn't process things the way everyone else's mind does, you're facing a severely stacked deck. Meet Badi Hessamizadeh, age 16, a 2nd generation Iranian living in America post 9/11. He's about to start at a private Catholic high school after experiencing some major problems at his public school last year. Those incl ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
"Even assholes are people, too."

Badi, an Iranian-American boy, is starting at a private Catholic academy after a series of incidents at his public school. He was the target of terrible bullying, so this is his chance to start over again. And he'll not only be starting over in a hew school and meeting new people, he's now got a new name: Bud Hess.

He's not thrilled about any of this, but he is excited about meeting Nikki, a girl who takes a shine to him. And there's Reggie, who may or may not be
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Young adult - outcast(s) - immigrants (Iran/First gen) - "Americanizing" names - mental illness - bullying - parent/teen relationships - bombmaking - fantasy vs reality; Better than average, a good read for all ages, tween & up. CHARACTER/40 STORY/40 LANGUAGE 10 PLACE 10 ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm torn about Permanent Record, I really am. I should have loved it, but I didn't. Some parts I enjoyed and some parts I didn't. I'm so conflicted.

Badi Hessamizadeh is an Iranian-American teenager living in Chicago. He's been bullied a lot for his ethnicity and sort of quirky personality. His family doesn't seem to care, thinking he should just focus on his studies rather than concerning himself with how other kids see him, and everything just snowballs -- to the point where he blows up a toile
J. Luis Licea
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gifts
We meet Badi, who is the main character in the story, and what he does so well is narrate. I found myself sometimes reading more than I would have expect doing. I did think the book was a bit slow at the beginning, but it quickly picked up. There are so many things going on in Badi’s life, but not that many to confuse you.

What I enjoyed about Badi was his way of being himself. I do have to admit that he acted irrational many times, but I’m sure he had his reasons. One of those, maybe, was that h
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book follows a few months in the life of Badi Hessamizadeh, a sixteen-year-old Iranian-American growing up in Chicago. Badi doesn't have it easy -- he has controlling parents, he suffers from depression and anxiety, and he gets bullied daily. He's forced by his parents to transfer schools (and change his name to Bud) for a fresh start for junior year, but things don't go as well at his new school as planned. He is blamed for writing threatening letters to the school newspaper, and he and hi ...more
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
After years of torment from his peers at school, Iranian/American Badi Hessamizadeh (Bud Hess) is sent to a new school to start anew. The years of being bullied has contributed to his anxiety and depression. At his new school, he tries choices that he otherwise would not do at his former one. He sees himself doing things that are out of his normal routine and it helped him develop as a person. But as soon as things seem to be looking brighter and he might actually have a descent run at this new ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We first meet Bud as he is dealing with a panic attack. As an Iranian/American boy, he has been bullied endlessly by his classmates and his parents and school have not been helpful in resolving those issues. This has increased his anxiety as well as made him depressed. While trying to fit in with a new culture, but still keep where he's from in mind, he is sent to a new school to start fresh. At his new school, he begins to make friends and try new roles on for size. This leads him to do
Amy at bookgoonie
Lucy @ The Reading Date‘s review roused my affinity for stories about bullying and Iranian-Americans. Being a social studies teacher-reader, PERMANENT RECORDs mix of rich topics that could use an open dialogue and empathy led to my purchase of the book and then the audio.

It does not disappoint. PERMANENT RECORD has a similar feel of favorites, like Looking for Alaska, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the The Silver Linings Playbook, but LESLIE gives a unique and authentic lens to experience
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
“I get this feeling that something bad is happening, like I’m going to come home and find our building burned to the ground or white supremacists chasing my family around with baseball bats, or that this bus is going to crash into the bodega on Clark Street. My head won’t stop with this shit. I know it’s all anxiety. It pummels my brain with thoughts and images of horrible things going down. What is the matter with me? I’m sick of talking about myself. I’m sick of thinking about myself. I’m sick ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

This was a decent read. Unfortunately for me, I had a really hard time identifying with the main character so I did kind of have to slog through it at some points. I just couldn't seem to connect with him, possibly because I am not the target audience for this (I'm an adult, not a young adult) BUT I do read almost exclusively YA books and it's not generally an issue so I don't know. I suffer with issues of anxiety and depression just as the main character does, but I think his wer
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'll put this high on my list of young adult fiction that I love. The view of Persian American culture adds flavor to the story. Badi's internal dialog as well as his communication with others reminds me of the voice of someone who is a first generation American. There is something formal about it that I like. He sounds intelligent and unhip.

Badi is a character that was likeable in a bizarre way. Even though some of the abuse from his classmates seems a bit over the top the actual humiliation Ba
Ken Kugler
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book, Permanent Record, by Leslie Stella hit me just the right way. Leslie Stella put me in a state of have difficulty breathing and feeling I was in Badi(Bud) Hessamizadeh(Hess)head.
Badi had a breakdown and did some weird things his old school and now has to start over at Magnificat, his new school as he needs to start over after the “incident” at Leighton and his complete meltdown. Yes he blew up a toilet but he had a good reason. It is just that he also tried to kill himself and his pa
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This was the first review book I received from NetGalley so wooo hoooo for getting a free book.
With that being said I have mixed feelings.
The writing was amazing.
The characters weren't bad.
And the plot was really good.
I just didn't like it all that much.
The story is about Badi. He is Iranian and is bullied all time. So right off the bat that sucks. I hate bullying. I just don't understand why people want to hurt people. Anyways Badi has an insident at his school so he is asked to leave.
His par
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This was one of the books I picked up on a whim, the cover got me, I admit it. Sixteen-year old Badi withdrew from his old high school with lots of issues that he hopes to leave behind. An outcast, he’s angry with life, often bullied by others and he uses revenge upon his tormentors. With medical issues, Badi sees a medical professional who he says all the right words to so it doesn’t raise any red flags. His father changes their last name before the school year but with Badi, he got a whole new ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, donated
I received this book as a promotion from Goodreads First Reads Giveaways.

The main character, Badi, is easy to relate to as someone struggling with depression and anxiety. His self-deprecation and tendency to catastrophize and over-analyze small failures was the most empathetic and deepest aspect of this book. The writing was so simple, I kept wanting to dive deeper into Badi's experiences and have a more fleshed out picture, but everything just felt so shallow, especially from a narrator who is
Nina O'Daniels
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I will admit to having higher hopes for this book and it wasn't a bad read, it just fell a bit flat.

Bud Hess, aka Badi Hessamizadeh, is an Iranian American living in Chicago with his very traditional family. He learns of his new name, Bud, when his father tells him he is transferring schools after the "incident" and he doesn't want his old name sounding like a terrorist. The incident is described as an act of self-defense from bullies that involved the blowing up of toilets. This was followed by
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LESLIE STELLA is the author of the YA novel, Permanent Record (March 2013, Skyscape), and three previous novels of contemporary adult fiction, Unimaginable Zero Summer, The Easy Hour, and Fat Bald Jeff. She was a founding editor of the Chicago-based politics and satire magazine Lumpen, and her work has been published in The Mississippi Review, The Adirondack Review, Bust, Easy Listener, and anthol ...more

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161 likes · 41 comments
“But I am clinically depressed and have an anxiety disorder, which interferes with things like studying and learning and breathing and living. He thinks it’s something I can just turn off and on with willpower.” 2 likes
“The line between reality and illusion is getting blurry. Sometimes I really do think everyone hates me. Sometimes the crazy is all I’ve got. My head’s pounding again. I hate all this: the pathology and the defiance and the confusion about whether I’m getting better or worse. And yet it is so totally me. I know that none of it ends here tonight. Not by a long shot.” 1 likes
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