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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Present Perfect

Holy crap people.  I was putting off reading Present Perfect because something about the book gave me a feeling that I was going to be feeling emotions all across the spectrum.  I've been on a light and funny kick lately, so to wade back into the depths of emotion sucking literature is slightly overwhelming. 

Oh boy.  

Present Perfect has wrecked me today.  

I’ve been unsure about many things in my life except for one thing, that I have always loved him. Every single minute of every single day that I have been on this earth, my heart has belonged to him. It has never been a question, never a doubt. The love had taken on many different forms over the years, but it had always been a constant. 

Everyone has their definition of love. There have been countless songs sung about it. A gazillion books, articles, and poems written about it. There are experts on love who will tell you how to get it, keep it, and get over it. 

We’re led to believe love is complicated. It’s not the love that’s complicated. It’s all the crap that we attach to it and put in front of it that makes it difficult. If you’re smart, you’ll realize this before it’s too late and simplify.


Amanda Kelly spent her entire life trying to control every aspect of it, while striving for perfection. Her obsession with being perfect, along with her feelings of worthlessness, consumed her. The one thing she thought was perfect in her life was the bond she shared with her best friend, Noah.

Everything was going according to her life plan until she woke up one day and realized she had fallen in love with him. The one thing she couldn’t control was the affect he had on her. Noah had the power to give her one hundred lifetimes of happiness, which also gave him the power to completely devastate her. He was the one thing in her life that was perfect, but she couldn't allow herself to have him.

Her life begins to unravel. Events take over and force her to let go of her dreams and desires. She needs to realize that a person cannot control the events in their life, only their reaction to them...but will it be too late for her to save her relationship with her best friend? 

Present Perfect is a story of how past events have present consequences and how perfect your present could be if you stopped fighting and just allowed it to happen.

Review:    Starting out reading Present Perfect, I immediately got Amanda or as Noah calls her, "Tweet."  I think that the idea that as individual you must always compare yourself to those around you and set this standard of perfection to which you must strive for, is completely universal.  Everyone has doubts about themselves.  And reading the lengths to which Amanda has these doubts was as reassuring as it is disconcerting. 

While I have an older sibling, we didn't get to grow up together, so I can't really say that I've ever felt inferior to them like Amanda does with her sister Emily.  The thing is, I really was prepared for this story to kind of revolve around Emily, and how she just wreaked havoc on Amanda's life.  I totally did not get that story, and for that, I thank you Alison G. Bailey.  

Instead, the story of Present Perfect is just achingly frustrating at times.  I literally wanted to reach in and strangle Amanda.  In my head I would just keep screaming, "You're doing this to yourself, you have no one else to blame!"  But, after I finished and had some time to detox, I realized that Alison Bailey gave us a great book because of her characters actions.  Amanda is completely stubborn, Noah is just ridiculously sweet and a good friend who isn't anywhere close to Travis Maddox, and Brad is straight up a prick.  

All of these characters are reminiscent of actual people.  It's a great story, with believable characters who you watch change and grow up.  While not all of their decisions are the best ones, they are realistic. 

When the story first opens, we get to know how Amanda and Noah become such great friends.  While the pace is slow in the beginning, the material does such a great job setting up what happens during the rest of the book.  You'll get to parts that will just smash your hearts into pieces, but there are also parts that will come back and take those shards and superglue them back together. 

As I was trucking along in the story I admit I was floored when I got to the big plot reveal.  My jaw just kind of came unhinged, because I seriously did not see that coming.  The subsequent pages were the happiest and most torturous pages I think I have ever read in a book.  By the last twenty or so pages, I wasn't out right sobbing, but tears were definitely present.  Fear was just absolutely lodged in my throat until Noah says something that just popped the fear, and brought me back down.  

I really cannot recommend this book enough to you guys.  Present Perfect was a gorgeous story.  It's will keep you on edge the entirety of the book, but it's so completely worth it.  It's emotionally gripping and gratifying.  What a fantastic first release for author Alison Bailey.  You have found a big fan, and from the snippet of Brad's story at the back of Present Perfect, I predict another heart wrenching tale with a beautiful message.

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