Book Review – Present Perfect by Alison G. Bailey

by Maryse on August 11, 2013 · 34 comments

in My Book Reviews

Present Perfect
Whoa. I don’t even know how to start this. *wipes eyes one final time with pajama top* Yes it’s 4:11pm and I’m still in my pajamas. I couldn’t help it! Plus it’s Sunday. Plus, I deserve to be in my comfortable pj’s ’cause this book tried to kill me, you guys.

It tried and tried, and I’d get back up, growl at it, or roll my eyes at it, or complain to my husband about it (at some points, I was so mad, that HE wanted to throw my iPad across the room). Or maybe it’s ’cause I kept interrupting his Call of Duty playing with my plaintive whining about the over-the-top, self-induced angsty character that was driving me batty. But even in all of my eye-rolling, my shrieks of “I wanna shake her!!” and “Can someone just please smack her? HARD!!??” (okay I actually said some way-worse things, here, but I’ll spare you ;) ), I couldn’t put it down.

It tried to take me down, but I kept getting right back up, because there was just something so intense that had me coming back for more.

“This thing is confusing.”

“What thing?”

He pointed back and forth between us.

It’s so sweet. So falling-in-love worthy. So heartbreaking. The writing? Yep. My ability to connect even though, at times, I was so freakin’ frustrated with the main characters, I couldn’t contain myself. I was mad at myself that I couldn’t just… walk away from the book. It had a “je ne sais quoi” that wouldn’t let me go, even though my logical mind was mad at pretty much… the whole thing.

It’s amazing how in just a few hours my entire world came crashing down around me and I just stood there to watch it happen.

The moments of self-loathing… the self-deprecation. That’s when I realized. This sweet seemingly YA (but not for long – they become adults soon enough) love story/life story had a darkish side. A “gentler” dark side wrapped up in the precious yellow sunshine of a love story of hope.

“Thank you, Noah.”

He smiled. “I’ll always take care of you and make sure you have candy, Tweet.”

It was the first time he called me by the nickname that would stick with me forever.

Awwww I LOVED his name for her. “Tweet”biggrin

It snuck up on me. It’s addicting, it’s unputdownable, and at times it’s simply ridiculous. It’s realistic. And then it’s so unrealistic.

I even thought to myself, wait… do people really think like this? Do people really act like that? I found myself exclaiming “Oh please… spare me the self-induced melodrama!! It’s ALL YOU!!!!” and yet, I loved the story (or the feel?) as a whole.

I didn’t know what to say, so I did what I usually do. I ran.

*sigh*. Yes. She did.

But I had to continue reading. *shrug* I went with it. I had to know where it was going.

There’s only one person in my life who reigns over whether or not I’m lonely. Whether I’m physically with him or not, knowing he’s in my life keeps the loneliness away. When he’s standing in front of me and I feel him slipping away, the ache of loneliness takes over and drowns me. Being that vulnerable to a person is frightening.

And like I’ve said before with characters like this girl… maybe there are people just like her who’ve thought the things she has thought and reacted in similar ways. Who am I to say different? I’m different from her (and them.. yes). And while I felt some of it was drama for the sake of drama, I must admit, as a young teen/college student I’ve had my bouts of melodrama, self-centeredness, self-sabotage and even self-sacrificing moments.

Noah’s happiness was the most important thing to me. I wanted him to be happy even if it meant I was miserable.

It’s what being human and being alive is all about. Fear. Insecurities. Control (hehe, not that kind of control – this is not that kind of “dark”). So even if I couldn’t 100% relate to her actions and her thoughts, I was still so connected to her.

This book made me feel things DEEP. I internalized a lot of it. Characters infuriated me. Scenes exasperated me. She exhausted me. The book kept coming at me, and then it tried to take me down, and then when I started sobbing, I knew it succeeded. I couldn’t believe the… direction it took. The surprises that came at me. A few of ‘em. You just wait.

Oh I had the perfect “clever” start for this review (while I was still reading the book) that had me I crack myself up sometimes. rolleyes But suddenly, my clever/silly start to my review no longer had the right impact. Because when I came up with that “start” I was so sure I knew where the story was going so I had already started formulating my review notes. But the story took a turn, and I had to, also. It knocked me down, and I had to right myself. There was a certain depth to the story (what I learned, what I took in, and what I took from it) that knocked the “silly” right out of me.

So what’s it about?

Remember the original cover?

I won’t say much other than it’s about two absolute best friends (Noah and Amanda) that were raised together and had the most AMAZING beautiful friendship (from the very start) that I only wish I could have had (think… “Sweet Gum Tree” in terms of that soul-deep connection). But they grow up, you know. And while both come from truly loving, stable homes, this still goes to show you that even people from a “normal” childhood might have issues.

It’s not perfect, no. Again, some of the over-the-top “decisions”, personal introspection and character reactions could almost be toned down to a more relatable (less exaggerated, more natural) level. I’m giving that a pass though, since 1.) they were young, and 2.) there needed to be growth, and it would come with time. And I (er… I mean, she) needed something to compare it to. To learn from.

And in the deeper, more meaningful moments (the bulk of the story – for me) I wish there was more of that. Oh it’s intense, and it’s meaningful, but for as much feeling and time that the author took in the more “excessive” stages of this love story, I felt that there was slightly less… hrmmmvolume? in what to me, was the most amazing, touching, maturing part of the story. The growth. The character evolution. I’d say it felt a bit “rushed” compared to all of that… beginning part.

But… I loved it nonetheless.

My “logical side” wants to give it 4 stars (it can’t help but shake a fist at a few parts and it even wants to give some of those parts 3 stars). My personal notes were quite “ranty”. Yessss, I admit…. I indulged in some name calling. *blush*

BUT my feeling side wants to give it 5 stars (’cause it was so mad, so happy, so sad, so enamored, soooooo…. *my lips are sealed*). ;) P.S. Not necessarily in that order.

Get your tissues ready!! This is gonna hurt. *wicked grin*

I’ll go with overall – 4 stars!! (with 5-star emotions!!)

P.S. The title of this book? Wow. Just WOW!!!! I didn’t get it. I do now.

P.P.S. This IS a standalone.

P.P.P.S. ;) My husband actually purchased it last night for me (I like him to choose for me sometimes – I went into this not knowing a single thing) – and boy can he pick a read!


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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Lise August 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Perfect review, Maryse. I read this one all night and into this morning. Once I connected, I could not separate. I just read the ending again… *Ahhh*

Maryse August 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Lise… did you cry? I had to warn my husband to go do his “stuff” ’cause I just knew I had to cry.

I prefer book-crying in peace. Then I can really let her rip. ;)

Lise August 11, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Yes, I cried and in front of my 17 year old son this morning right before I made him pancakes. I blaimed on his starting his senior year of High School in a week… eek. Didn’t you LOVE Dalton?

Maryse August 11, 2013 at 5:09 PM

OMG YES!!!!!

I’m also curious about Brad. I WILL absolutely be reading that one when it comes out.

Lise August 11, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Me too. He was an ass in the book, but it made sense. The tease at the end really caught my attention and am looking forward to more from this author! :-)

Lauren August 11, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Well I now have my next read !!! I need something to help me come down from Extinguish that’s for sure! Can’t stop thinking about it!!!

Kirsten August 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Great review Maryse. I had heard I would be sobbing so I locked myself away and read this one all day today. Tweet got on my nerves to a degree, but oh my Noah, and then Dalton! I am also so intrigued by that Brad tease at the end. Can’t wait to read that one.

Dottie August 11, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Great review Maryse!! I’ve got to read this book!!

Maryse August 11, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Lauren, let me know how this one affects you! You’re gonna be so mad!!! Tee hee!!! ;)

Kirsten… yes that tease has me ready for more!

Lauren August 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Oh no maryse I’m nervous hehe starting it right now!!

mitzi August 12, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Wow…just, wow…

Alicia August 12, 2013 at 1:17 AM

Oh my gosh! I read this in one day also. I haven’t cried that much in a long time. It was so frustrating how down “Tweet” was on herself throughout the book. Noah was amazing! Those letters in the end is what had me crying my eyes out. I thought overall a great book! :)

Lauren August 12, 2013 at 3:39 AM

so far my feelings are “I really don’t want to read it but I really really CANNOT stop! Make sense? Arrrrgh so many feelings

Maryse August 12, 2013 at 4:48 AM

Oh yes… I love a good book-cry, but I dread it when I feel it coming on.

Lauren August 12, 2013 at 5:10 AM

Meeeee tooooo!!!!!!

Lynn D August 12, 2013 at 7:15 AM

Perfect review….couldn’t put it down. Felt every emotion and times wanted to shake her. Beautiful story!

Ana Ribeiro August 12, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Wow!!!! What a story, Maryse!!!! I always try to to read your reviews before reading a book (they’re just great). I just wanted to shake her sometimes, cry and hug Noah at the same time…. is it possible? hehe I could never see that ending coming!!! And I love when it happens, don’t you? :)

Maryse August 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Yes I do!!!! She surprised me… THREE times in that end!!! Plus all of the other surprises along the way (*ahem* Brad) ;)

Autumn @TheAutumnReview August 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

This book was amazing! So glad you liked it too!

Sara August 12, 2013 at 5:06 PM It really brought out my emotions. Did you hear that Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan Miles are writing a book together?! I just read the teaser and synopsis, it looks really good:

Kristine August 12, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Wow…..this book turned me upside down. When ‘it’ happened to Amanda I was shocked (soooo didn’t see that happening) and those damn letters. UGH the letters….. They had me crying and not the quiet pretty tears but the ugly snotty ones. I loved, loved, loved this book and can’t wait to read Brad’s (that asshat) story. Not sure how he can redeem himself but can wait to see him try. ;)

Pam August 13, 2013 at 1:19 AM

Cried like a big baby. So amazing, couldn’t even describe it any other way

Jean August 14, 2013 at 8:22 AM

So, I totally shifted my TBR list and downloaded this late last night after reading the reviews. I could not put it down, but stupid work got in the way this morning! I am only at 30%, but anxious as all hell!

Jean August 15, 2013 at 1:44 PM

OMG! Read this book in one day! What a book hangover I have…..kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking about their whole story! Highly recommend this book to everyone! Now, what to start next….

Wanda August 15, 2013 at 9:45 PM

I loved this book! I actually went back and read some of the more emotional parts over (a couple times)…including the end! Just loved it!!!!

indirose August 17, 2013 at 4:09 AM

Wow, gonna have a massive book hangover from this one, so powerful and infuriating …and beautiful…and heart wrenching yeah wow!

Dana August 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM

This book hurt!! I have a wicked book hangover right now because I could NOT stop reading last night. I haven’t had a book make me physically ache like this since thoughtless. Or was it effortless? Eh, they all did it to me but this hurt. (Oh, which reminds me….how about that dbag reference?! i love it when authors do that :) . I had an extra hard workout this morning to get all the angst out of me!! And omg, it had me going right up to the very end!! Usually, if I’m emotionally involved in a book, when you get in the 80-90% range you can breathe easy and ride the end of the story on down the hill. But sweet mother of god, not this one!!! Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever actually commented on your site before, but you are amazing for recommending the books that I love. And hate, all at the same time ;) . So thanks, and keep up the good work!! These authors probably owe a lot of acknowledgements to you!! I know I one click entirely too often :) I don’t even mess around with samples anymore if its something you are giving 4 or more stars too!!

Sherry :D August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Day 3 of after PP and I think I can finally open another book :(
This book was heartbreaking/sweet/AWESOME!!

Loved the review Maryse :)

Jessie August 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM

I juz cant stop reading it…. their love make me heartbreak. I finish it within a day…. Miracle!!! Love this book…. One of the book i ever read… Highly recommend

Lisa Haines September 12, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Is this book a young adult book?? Does it have any steam or all tears??

Kylie September 16, 2013 at 7:16 AM

I had this book on my TBR list then saw a glimpse of your review so bumped it up and I am currently reading it. I am only 30% in but I feel like I want to throw up when I am reading it or thinking about it, which is what I am doing when I am not reading it ;) The angst and emotion is killing me, or my stomach I should say! Amanda (Tweet) is relatable even if I want to shake her and scream at her most of the time so far! I can’t wait to see where this story goes but I am terrified at the same time! I love the emotions this book is bringing out of me so far but I am both looking forward to ugly crying and not looking forward to it at the same time! I think I will die emotionally if there isn’t a HEA, but only time will tell ;)

Barb September 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM

I totally agree with your review. I thought it got a bit too wordy and repetitive, as “Tweet” kept repeating her mantra. I must say this book had me in tears at several parts and although there was a HEA, I cried like a baby at the end. If you have a family member that has been what she was going through it makes it more heartfelt. Loved the book and would highly recommend.

Marilyn September 17, 2013 at 5:51 AM

I love this book so much! When a book grabs a hold of your heart then rips it out of your chest and then puts it back, that’s a win! I wanted a deep book that made me feel, like really feel and this book delivered. And the guy…. WOW. He made me yearn to meet a guy like him, he was soooooo swoony. I love love love Noah! It was a 5 star for me.

Vianny December 22, 2013 at 1:14 AM

Hey, I’ve recently read this book and it was amazing!!!!!!! I feel the same way. What other reads do you recommend that’s similar to Present Perfect?

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