Book Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Past Perfect by Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: eGalley (courtesy of Galley Grab)
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: 10.04.2011
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….

The first thing I loved about this book was the setting. It was SO nice to get out of a high school, or boarding school for once! This book takes place in the summer at a living history colonial village, where the younger employees are at war with the employees at the Civil War reenactment camp across the street. The war is similar to the one found in Jellicoe Road, but without the harrowing family drama, and with a big helping of humor. This book was nothing but adorable fun.

I felt real emotions from Chelsea, the main character. She is just getting over her first heartbreak, and is learning the hard way that when you love someone, it's easy to overlook their flaws. She obsesses over her ex, and while it got annoying, I can't help but remember that the way I acted after my first heartbreak was pretty close to the same. The book brings up some good points about relationships, like the ease of getting into emotionally abusive relationships, and how we make of history what we want, allowing us to forget the bad times and just remember the good.

The way history is represented in this book, almost makes me want to go be a part of it all. Chelsea felt deeply about history, and so did many of the other characters, including the parents. There were parts that were a little over the top, especially with the war; they all took it so seriously, and actually spoke in war terms. Even the parents felt so strongly about their respective places of work, that they would talk about the other places, and claim they didn't know history as well. But I guess this is to be expected if you work in historical reenactment; it's all about representing an authentic picture of the past, and when someone isn't as authentic as they should be, I can see how it could be offensive. Their insult for those who don't take authenticity to heart is "Farb," (a shortened version of "Far be it from authentic") and is my new favorite insult. I simply MUST find something that it applies to, so I can use it!

As a whole, the book is cute, light, and fun, and I laughed so many times. I learned what it is like to work in a living history village, and I even learned a new fact or two about history. I was as interested in the way of live at the village, as I was in the rest of the story, and Leila Sales satisfied my interest in both. Her descriptions of the colonial village, and of how it felt to work at one were superb. I felt like I was there. I also enjoyed the sweet summer romance, and the lasting friendships.

Read this if:
...you want a light read that teaches you something new, and reminds you of how it feels to be young and in love.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Moderate amount of swearing, including use of religious names.}

Purchase Past Perfect:
Leila Sales:
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  1. I'm so jealous of this girl's summer job. I worked at Six Flags Over Texass when I was in high school...would have loved to work at an historical village!

  2. This sounds so cute. I love her job! Great review darling :)

  3. Ahh wasn't this a sweet book? I really loved it, and I appreciated the humourous aspect so much as well. Haha I also love that you commented on 'farb' because when I first read the book I said the exact same thing.

  4. I actually read the first few chapter of this from galley grab but stopped myself from reading further because I absolutely loved it and I want to read the physical book :P LOL! Nice review, too! That just made me want to buy the book already :)

  5. Colleen: ME TOO! While I was reading, all I could think was: why don't we have something like this in Utah? I would totally love to work there.

    Juju: I do, too. It's so cool.

    Ashley: Hahaha, I totally called someone a farb the other day! It didn't apply, and he didn't know what it meant, but it made me so happy. Lol.

    Mia: Yes! Hope you get to read it soon!


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