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Review: Past Perfect

September 26, 2011

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 322
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Format: eGalley via Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.
Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….—Goodreads
It honestly might be the most perfect YA contemp I’ve ever read. It’s silly and girly and rings very true to a typical teenage girl’s experiences. And it is just SO MUCH FUN to read. 
Now, I will be honest. I was apparently pre-destined to like this book because it is mostly set in a historic colonial village à la Colonial Williamsburg. I have an undergrad degree in American History and before that, DEEPLY IDENTIFIED with Felicity from the American Girl series. Now, I do realize that I am not unique in this—there are many, many girls my age who loved Felicity and hold American History degrees. And all of those girls need to read this book. Because they will love it as much as I do. 
So, ok, you probs want to know why I like this practically perfect little book so much, right? Leila Sales just does such a good job creating characters, especially the main character, Chelsea, that are just likable. Chelsea seems very, very real and very, very normal and the situations she finds herself in are also very, very real and normal. She’s nursing a pouty heart, and around the time that she thinks she can FINALLY get away from her ex (aka, summer break), she realizes he’s taken a job at the historical reenactment village where her parents work full-time, and where she works every summer. Because boys are awful. 
And if that weren’t enough, it turns out that there is a Civil War reenactment village DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from the colonial village (I know, hilarious, right?!), and the teens who work there wage prank wars on each other every summer. It is AWESOME and HILARIOUS. OMG, y’all, my  geeky, history-loving heart adored this part of the book so dad-gum much. I read this book on a plane and kept giggling and squealing in delight, and I’m pretty sure my seat mates thought I was bonkers. But I did not CARE because I was having so much fun with this book. Anyway, it turns out that there’s a very cute guy who works at the Civil War place, and of course my girl Chelsea finds herself attracted to him. 
Now, one might think that this would breed a love triangle type situation. But it didn’t!!!!!! Sure, Chelsea was still getting over her ex and started having feelings for someone else, but it never became a soul-crushing, OMG THIS IS LIFE OR DEATH kind of thing. And it definitely wasn’t the only thing Chelsea thought about throughout the book. Because she isn’t crazy.  
Overall, the beauty in this book is that it is honest and realistic in its depiction of being a teenage girl who has been hurt and is trying to move on. No matter who you are or what your age is or whether or not you even like history, you should pick this book up. It will make you laugh and cheer and smile and want to hug your best friend and maybe want to ask Miss Leila Sales to be your best friend. Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, Past Perfect is a book I definitely have a crush on. And NOT because of the boys. 
But don’t take just my word for it! Check out these other reviews from awesome bloggers:
Anna at Anna Reads
April at Good Books and Good Wine
Ginger at GReadsBooks
Melanie at Reclusive Bibliophile

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