Permanent Record by Leslie Stella
Badi Hessamizadeh has just voluntarily left his public high school because his solution to ending the everyday, intense bullying he experienced was to blow up a toilet. Badi’s reputation as a terrorist after the toilet explosion, has made the bullying against him unbearable. So, Badi’s father changed his name– now Badi is known as Bud Hess– and transferred Badi to a private academy. Can life be different for Badi, now Bud, at his new school or will he face the same prejudices as before?
Permanent Record is a pretty compelling read, not only because it deals with the issue of racial profiling and bullying, but also because Badi is a flawed character. He doesn’t make the right decisions, and while at first it is hard to understand Badi’s reasoning for acting out, as you continue reading you get to know Badi. You understand that he is struggling with anxiety and depression, and the bullying that he has to endure at school is horrible. Added to all of his struggles is that Badi has as Iranian-American is a post-911 world. I was surprised at how much this book moved me, and also how much I got to know the character of Badi and his struggles. By the end of the novel, I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but now I can think of no way that I would have rather it ended. If you are in the mood for a realistic and thought-provoking read, you should definitely pick up Permanent Record. Click here to find it in the Library!
Permanent Record is also this year’s Suburban Mosaic Teen Novel. To learn more about the Suburban Mosaic Reading program, which “seeks to confront issues of racial and social justice and promote cross-cultural understanding through literature”, then click here to be directed to the website. To celebrate the selection of Permanent Record as the 2014 Suburban Mosaic Teen Novel, the Library will be hosting An Evening with Leslie Stella on Monday, September 15. Leslie Stella will talk about her novel, writing, and there will also be a book signing.