Book Review: This May Go On Your Permanent Record

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This May Go On Your Permanent Record by Kelly Swails


Sally Clark is curious about how technology works, which would be fine except her experiments tend to be illegal. She’s also a terrible liar, which lands her in court for stealing groceries with nothing but a hacked smart phone. While the judge isn’t impressed that her alcoholic mother had traded the grocery money for booze, she is intrigued by her hacking skills. Given a choice between juvenile detention and something called The School for Extraordinary Youth, she rolls the dice and chooses the latter. She’s barely unpacked her bags when she discovers that SEY is a prep school for world domination.



A quick, but full read, which took me about five hours one night, this Young Adult (YA) story follows a fourteen-year-old girl from August to October of her freshman year in high school. Wow that sounds boring, but this book is anything but.

I picked it up thinking it sounded a lot like a superhero academy story, “a school for world domination” is the tag line, and it reads like one too. Only instead of superpowers, the students are all children of world leaders except for a few potentials brought in to shake things up. Sally comes from trailer trash but determined to rise above it – or at least stay out of juvie where the judge says she will go if she flunks out of this school. Thrust into the world of movers and shakers, she proves to be a true shaker. The class president goes after her with blood in her eye; maybe the daughter of leaders should have blinked first to clear the eye so she could see Sally clearly because this girl doesn’t back down from nobody. The two duke it out for class domination in a school teaching them how to take over the world and giving them the tools to do it.

The story follows the present YA formula of two love interests – one helpful and like a buddy – and the other intriguing, strong, and handsome, but not a close friend yet. She doesn’t go for either in this book but knows she has a crush on one and gets flashes of interest in the other.

We don’t see much personal growth of the character in this book as it more concentrates on setting up the world and defining the characters. Plus the overall story arc with the class president. Lots of little things happening keeping the story moving – I didn’t have any interest in taking a break while I read it. 

I do enjoy all the name dropping – the leadership of the school also comes from old, powerful families. If you like history, this book makes you want to break out a “who’s who” to see what Easter eggs the author is writing in the series – names like Custard, Curie, and Bush tease the reader.

This manuscript is a very nice read. Plus I think the series will rock – for example book two, now that we know everyone and the world, should blow this one out of the water. The writing is tight and I expect Ms. Swails to only improve in the future.