A sweet and clever novel about the woes of (boy) history repeating itself, from the author of Mostly Good Girls.
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….
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Leila Sales grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from the University of Chicago. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children’s book publishing. Leila spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write. Learn more at leilasales.com and follow her on Twitter at @LeilaSalesBooks.
Read an Excerpt
Past Perfect THE SUMMER
There are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do.
Type one: history nerds. People who memorized all the battles of the Revolutionary War by age ten; who can, and will, tell you how many casualties were sustained at Bunker Hill; who hotly debate the virtues of bayonets over pistols. They are mostly pale-skinned, reedy, acne-scarred boys in glasses (unless they can’t find a pair of historically accurate glasses and are forced to get contacts). I don’t know if they were born so unappealing, and turned to history for companionship because they realized they were too grotesque to attract real-life friends, or if their love of history came first, and maybe they could have turned out hot, but instead they invested all their energy in watching twelve-hour documentaries about battleships. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg type of question.
The second type are the drama kids. The drama kids are not so interested in authentic battle techniques, but they are super interested in dressing up like minutemen. And they are interested in staging chilling scenes in which they get fake-shot and fall to the ground, bellowing, “Hark! I’m wounded! Oh, what cruelty is this?” even when the history nerds grouch because that is not how it happened at all, and, in fact, no soldiers were wounded during the Battle of Blah Blah Blah.
The third reason for a teenager to work at Essex would be if her parents work there. Which is why I do it. Because my dad is the Essex Village silversmith, and my mom is the silversmith’s wife, and I am the silversmith’s daughter.
The silversmith is the guy who makes silverware and jewelry, and also sometimes he does dental work like fillings. Paul Revere was a silversmith, too, as my dad likes to remind me, when he’s trying to make me value his profession. Silversmiths play an important role in society, or at least they did in the 1700s.
Thanks to my dad’s career, I’ve worked at Essex since I was six years old. Well, I wasn’t technically employed for the first few years, since I did it for free. It was more like Take Your Child to Work Day every day, except that I had to wear a historically accurate costume of tiny boots, petticoats, a pinafore, and a bonnet.
When I turned twelve, I started getting paid—not a whole lot, but nothing to turn up my nose at either, especially since the only other jobs available to twelve-year-olds in my town are being a mother’s helper or trying to sell baked goods on street corners. And the baked goods market is really saturated. So historical reenactment was a solid gig for a while, and I had more independent income than anyone else in my middle school. I used it to buy a trampoline.
But now that it’s nearly the end of junior year, I’m sixteen years old, which means I’m legally employable. I can finally get a real job at a real place. A place where my coworkers won’t spend their lunch breaks debating who would have won the Revolutionary War if the French never got involved; where I can wear shorts instead of floor-length skirts; where there might even be air conditioning. Also and most importantly: a place where my parents don’t work.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and all. But my father and I have the sort of loving relationship in which, whenever he says more than one sentence in a row to me, I want to stab myself in the heart with a recently formed silver knife.
“So obviously what we want to do this summer,” I said to my best friend, Fiona, “is work at the mall.”
“Yeah . . .” Fiona said in a tone that meant No. We were having this conversation over ice cream in her kitchen, a few weeks before school let out for the year. Fiona and I had recently decided to devote the summer to becoming ice cream connoisseurs. Which essentially meant that we were going to eat as much ice cream as possible, and then discuss it intelligently and rate it on qualities such as “flavor” and “texture.”
“We could work at the mall,” Fiona said. “Or, instead of that, here’s another idea: We could work at Essex.”
I sighed. “Fi—”
“Think about it,” she said.
“Trust me, I’ve thought about it for the past ten years. Working at Essex is not really that fun,” I tried to explain to her. “It’s like going to family camp, only you have to be in character all the time, and strangers watch you and ask questions.”
“I actually love being in character,” Fiona reminded me. “And I love having strangers watch me.”
Fiona is a drama kid, and she’s good. She can belt out songs, and she emanates this confidence that just commands attention when she’s onstage. You can’t help but watch her. To top it off, she’s tall and willowy with waist-length chestnut-brown hair and catlike green eyes. I will be surprised if Fiona doesn’t grow up to be a famous actress.
Fiona and I have never spent a summer together because she’s gone to the Catskills for theater camp every year since we were little. But this past fall Ms. Warren lost her job, which meant some corners had to be cut. And theater camp was corner number one.
“How about we work at The Limited?” I suggested. “If you want, we could pretend to be characters who work at The Limited. And strangers will watch us fold shirts and stuff.”
Over her bowl of mint chocolate chip, Fiona argued, “But if we work at Essex, I can have some romantic historical name, like Prudence or Chastity.”
“Your name is already Fiona,” I said.
“Chastity Adams,” she continued dreamily.
“Your name is already Fiona Warren.” Fiona’s ancestors legitimately moved from England to the Colonies back in the days when there were Colonies. She doesn’t have to pretend that’s her story—it is her story. Plus, she is not particularly prudent or chaste.
“It’ll be like living in Pride and Prejudice!” she said.
“Really? When’s Pride and Prejudice?”
“Isn’t that when Essex is set?”
“No. Really, Fi? I’ve worked there for the entire time you’ve known me—you want to work there—and you don’t even know when it takes place?”
“Just tell me?” Fiona widened her eyes and pouted a little.
“I’ll give you a hint: Colonial Essex Village.”
She hazarded a guess. “Seventeen hundreds?”
“1774. Two years before the Declaration of Independence. Immediately before the First Continental Congress.”
“You sound like a history nerd! Anyway, what does it matter? The past is the past. It’s all kind of the same.”
Fiona is not dumb, by the way. She’s just an actress. Stories, emotions, people: that stuff interests her. Dates and facts leave her cold.
“Look, Chelsea,” she said. “I promise this year won’t be like every other summer. It will be two months of you and me running around together in beautiful old-fashioned dresses. You won’t have to spend the whole time locked in the silversmith’s studio with your parents. We can ask for a station together! Like at the stables or something! Nat says all the cool kids work at the stables.”
It was obvious that Fiona had never been gainfully employed before, since she seemed to envision it as a constant Gone with the Wind experience, minus the death and destruction.
“We’re not allowed to work at the stables,” I explained. “We’re girls. Girls didn’t muck out horse stalls in 1774. Also, is this really just about Nat Dillon? Is that why you’re so into this Essex job?”
Nat Dillon always plays Romeo to Fiona’s Juliet, Hamlet to Fiona’s Ophelia, the Beast to Fiona’s Beauty. Occasionally they hook up in real life. The rest of the time they only stage-kiss. My theory is that Fiona wants to take things to the next level—like, the level where Nat is her boyfriend—but she’s in denial about that. She shook her head and said, “I want to work at Essex because it will be good for my acting career, and because we can do it together. And, fine, the presence of cute boys doesn’t hurt.”
“There are no cute boys at Essex,” I said. “With the possible exception of Nat Dillon, and that’s only if you’re into long hair.” Nat wears his hair in a ponytail. He’s always lovingly combing his fingers through it. Don’t ask. “Everyone else there is ineligible. Trust me. I’ve grown up with most of them.”
“Your problem is that you hate true love,” Fiona said, clearing our bowls. “And I give this mint chocolate chip a six. The chocolate chips are strong, but the mint part should be mintier. Dyeing ice cream green does not actually make it taste any more like mint.”
“Five point five,” I said. “The mint part is the important part, and any ice cream manufacturer who doesn’t understand that is a sociopath.” As ice cream connoisseurs, we are extremely discerning. “And it’s not that I hate true love. It’s just that I don’t believe it exists. Especially not at Essex. I can’t see hating something that isn’t even real. That’s like hating centaurs or natural blondes.”
“How many times do we have to go over this?” Fiona heaved a sigh. “Just because Ezra Gorman turned out not to be the love of your life doesn’t mean there is no love of your life. It just means it wasn’t him.”
Fiona has been coaching me through my breakup with Ezra for weeks. She was really good at it for about three days. Then she got bored and now mostly just says things like, “Are you still not over that?”
“If you work with me at Essex this summer, I promise you that I will find you true love.” Fiona took my hands in hers and stared earnestly into my eyes.
“You will learn to love again,” Fiona continued, sounding like a movie trailer voice-over.
And at that, I totally lost it. “Okay, fine, Crazy Girl,” I said through giggles. “Let’s do it.”
But I want it to go on record that I didn’t say yes because of the true love thing. I said yes because there was no point to working at The Limited if Fiona wouldn’t be there with me.
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide for:
by Leila Sales
About the Book
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.
Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. The book opens with Chelsea describing the three types of teenagers who would work at Colonial Essex Reenactment Village: history nerds, drama kids, and kids whose parents work there. Would you work there? Do you fit into any of the three groups?
2. If you lived in Colonial America, what would you miss the most from this century? What perks would there be to living in 1774?
3. Which early American time period would you rather reenact—the Revolutionary War or the Civil War?
4. If you were supposed to spend the summer working at the same job as your ex, like Chelsea, what would you do?
5. Fiona sets an arbitrary date for when Chelsea can speak to Ezra again. Do you think not talking to an ex can actually help you get over them?
6. In the book they say, “ponytails are a deal-breaker.” Do you have any deal-breakers?
7. What is the best dating advice you’ve ever received?
8. Past Perfect has a lot to do with moving on. Do you think Chelsea would have moved on from Ezra without having Dan as a new crush?
9. What do you think of the ending, when Chelsea doesn’t end up with her ex, Ezra?
10. In your opinion, do you ever really get over someone?
11. In the novel, Chelsea’s parents are a bit eccentric. What’s the most embarrassing thing your parents have ever put you through?
12. After conducting your own research, like Fiona and Chelsea’s, what is the best ice cream flavor?
Enhance Your Book Club
You don’t have to work in a reenactment village like Chelsea to know your history! We recommend the following books to discover more about Colonial America and the Civil War Era: 1776 by David McCullough, George by Frank Keating, Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, Testament: A Soldier’s Story of the Civil War by Benson Bobrick, and Civil War Command and Strategy by Archer Jones.
Bring a few pints of ice cream to your next book club meeting, and become ice cream connoisseurs like Chelsea and Fiona!
Reading Group Guide written by Dawn Ryan
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved it!!!!! It was a really cute teen read. It's only 200 pages too, so it was pretty short. A must read for all romantics!!!
It's the summer before senior year and Chelsea just wants to spend it working at the mall with her best friend Fiona. Instead, she returns as usual to the Essex Historical Colonial Village as she has every year since before she could get paid because her parents work there too. Luckily Fiona is a budding drama gal and working in costume appeals to her too. The touches Leila added to the story, such as all the hot guys wanting to work at the magazine and all the cool girls at the milliners were perfect. The teens who work at Essex are at after hours war with another group of working teens. There are some great Romeo/Juliet type moments as Leila worries about fancying the enemy. Chelsea has some great comments about time, whether the past and present are concurrent and she living/acting in it all at once.
I originally heard about this book because of some of my fellow blogger friends! They told me I had to read Leila Sales, and because i'd heard nothing but good things, I knew I needed to give this author a try.Leila wrote such a unique and interesting YA contemporary, yes maybe the overall theme and plot line were similar to many other contemps out there, but the setting in a colonial re-enactment village. Ever since 5th grade or so i've had a huge interest in the colonial time period, so this book seemed fresh and new, and I couldn't think of another YA that had this element in the story. The main character Chelsea was snarky and realistic, and as teen-like as I could have imagined her to be. There's some Teen Angst, as well as tones of jealousy, lying, and betrayal, and of course the swoon-worthy Dan from across the way (A Civil War Re-enactment Village), who causes a far share of drama.If you like contemporary, this is a fun, interesting, and unique story by Leila Sales. The setting made for an interesting twist on the story, and her writing style rang true to that of a teenage girl. I definitely need to get my hands on Mostly Good Girls now, and Thank God my friends told me to read some Leila Sales!!
As much as I really did like Past Perfect, I wish I could like it more than I did. I don't really want to give it a negative review but I think it is going to be half and half. I think the fact that me and history have never been friends in any way, I found it really hard to get into this book. For people interested in the subject matter a little bit more, I think they will really enjoy this book.I usually have issues with books if I can't relate to characters very well and I think the only thing I could really relate with Chelsea about was her love for Ice Cream. I still don't really understand the purpose of them being ice cream connoisseur but for some reason, I really did enjoy that aspect of the book. Even though the story itself wasn't my favorite, I did really like Leila Sales writing. I think good writing is equally if not more important than the plot of the book. I'll read anything if it is well written and I definitely plan to read other books of her's in the future.So while this book was not a perfect choice for me, I don't think that it was a bad book in the slightest. It was extremely well written and if you are interested in the subject matter definitely go get this book.
Past Perfect by Leila Sales is the perfect cute comfort read. I loved it! It won't help you solve any problems in the field of nuclear physics, but it will leave you with a smile on your face.Chelsea works at a Colonial Village. The dresses, the apothecary, the blacksmith...the whole works. My inner history nerd sat up and cheered. Especially since there is a rival camp across the street - the Civil War reenactors. The teenagers in both places have a War (capital W) every summer - things can get pretty intense. Very intense. Like, when Chelsea is named a Colonial lieutenant just before being kidnapped and then held hostage by a guy that looks more like a hottie than an enemy. Also making things complicated is that Chelsea's ex is now working at the Colonial Village too, and she is having problems letting go completely. Oh the complications. How can her summer possibly turn out well?I really loved the characterization in this novel. Chelsea is great and her parents (especially her dad) are hilarious. I also love her best friend - they are on a constant search for the best ice cream in the world, I thought that was really cute. Added a nice dose of reality to their relationship. I also loved Chelsea's interactions with the love interest - no immediate intensity or crazy implausible situations. Just a nice teenage romance.So, ultimately the book is very cute, very realistic and super readable. It also kinda made me think about Sweet Home Alabama, one of my favorite chick flicks (you know, the whole Civil War reenactment thing). The romance is light and believable - but also really satisfying. Definitely a book I recommend!
I've read battle of the sexes and rivalries between high schools, but I can say for certain that "War" between a Civil War living history park and a Colonial living history park is definitely new territory. New and magnificent territory! We start out with our main character, Chelsea, not wanting to go work at Essex again this year. She's worked there since she was six years old and wants to do something new. Her best friend Fiona convinces her that it will be fun and so she ends up back at Essex for one more summer. Chelsea is rolling with it, until she realizes that her ex-boyfriend Ezra has also decided to work there this summer. Oh, the drama! I think my favorite part about this book was that I unintentionally learned stuff about history while reading it. Way to go with the sneaky teaching, Ms. Sales! I know some of the stuff they are telling people in the book isn't true, but there were some definite history nuggets spread throughout. We get told about the "war" between the teens at the Civil War park and the teens at Essex right in the beginning and it's the part of the plot that drives most of the drama in the book. What a fun idea, to have a rivalry/prank war with the neighboring living history park! Of course things kind of start to get out of control and people start getting hurt, physically and emotionally. I really liked a lot of the secondary characters that were scattered through the story. The miliner girls were always good for a laugh! And Bryan, poor, sad Bryan. He was so persistent and so oblivious, which also made him totally amusing. We don't really get to know much about Chelsea's mom, but her dad is one heck of a character. He's always going on and on about history, and can't imagine why anyone would want to be anywhere but portraying Colonial history at Essex. Chelsea was a good main character. She may have been a bit naive at times, but overall she was a decent person who was just trying to live her life. And her and Fiona wanting to be ice cream connoissuer's was priceless! What a better way could there be to have an excuse to eat ice creram all the time? Fiona was the fun and dramatic best friend. There is a big conflict in the big that makes us question how good of a friend she is, but in the end we realize she really is the best friend Chelsea could want. Ezra, Chelsea's ex-boyfriend, was a tool. I didn't like him really at any point in the book. He irritated me a lot, because he never seemed genuine about anything. Dan, on the other hand, loved him! He was just a really nice guy and he was definitely affected most profoundly by the war. Of course, because he's a guy with true character, that doesn't even ruin him. *Swoon*This book made me laugh so much! It was a really great, cute read and I will be checking out other books by this author ASAP! I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a laugh! Enjoy :0)
True confession: I love reenactors. People who wear oldey-timey outfits for work? You¿re awesome. Does your job require you to shun modern technology and to feign ignorance when someone asks you where the bathroom is? You deserve a medal. This is the first YA book I¿ve ever read in which the main character works at a colonial village. (My only other experience with reenactors in a book is from Pahlaniuk's Choke) There¿s just something about how people having jobs at places like Sturbridge Village and Colonial Williamsburg that entertains me. They have to act oldey-timey all day, but you know that at the end of the day they are getting in their Toyota Corollas, lighting up a cigarette, and blasting Journey on their ride home to a house with indoor plumbing and an icemaker. (or whatever modern cars, music, technology, and vices they enjoy) This author is hilarious. Seriously. And snarky. I had a love connection with this book from page one.Chelsea Glaser, or ¿Elizabeth Connelly¿ when she is working, has been employed practically from the womb at Essex, a colonial village. Both of her parents (the silversmith and the silversmith¿s wife) work there and she¿s grown up knowing the life of a reenactor. Every summer, the middle school/high school employees at Essex have a war with the employees at the Civil War ReenactmentLand that is conveniently (or not?) located across the street. In addition to the drama of the war, Chelsea¿s ex-boyfriend Ezra is also working at Essex for the summer and the boy she finds herself attracted to is a *gasp* Civil Warrior. (I loved that term, by the by) It¿s funny to me that a relationship that is not the only focus of a novel can be more riveting than many contemporary YA romances where the whole plot revolves around the two lovebirds. I actually enjoyed the progression of Dan and Chelsea¿s relationship¿it felt natural and their conversations felt real¿and hilarious.This book somewhat obviously talks a lot about history and how we interpret events of the past. I was just talking to a friend the other day about this. It¿s like we have our own memory erasers that just remove all the horrid bits and we just prance around on merry go rounds and sing Kumbaya together in the fields full of puppies in our memories. For example, I once drove from New Orleans to Sacramento in a 15-passenger van with 11 other people. Did it suck a lot of the time? Definitely. But I remember it with a grin on my face because I collected bandannas with my friend Josh at every roadside stop, we listened to some great tunes, and they let me plan the route so we stopped at ridiculous places like a deserted ghost town and to see the huge dinosaurs from Pee-Wee¿s Big Adventure. I love all those people like family even though I definitely wanted to murder each of them at some point during our year of living and working together. I do have a point here¿I loved Chelsea¿s reevaluation of her relationship with Ezra. Her box of happy relationship memories wasn't what she thought it was upon closer examination. We remember things the way we want to remember them, and when we reinsert the intentionally forgotten parts, people, places, memories might not wow us as much. I went on loads of car trips with my family as a kid and I got carsick every time. You know what I remember most though? Sitting backwards in our Volvo station wagon and listening to Cat Stevens¿ greatest hits CD. I think I wouldn¿t look at my childhood so fondly if I had to remember all the places I¿d yakked over the years.In the same vein, I also loved how Leila Sales talked about how we are living in the past and the present at the same time. We are still every version of ourselves that we have ever been in the past; all it takes is one sensory experience to take us back. Like when you think you are over someone and then you walk by a random person on the street wearing their cologne. Or when you remember a joke that you shared with someone but you are 3000 miles away
I have said this before. I want Leila Sales to be my best friend. Her sense of humor is stunningly funny. She writes relationships the way they are or can be. Teenage years are angst-ridden. On the other hand, they aren't as complicated as some books would have us believe. For instance, our protagonist, Chelsea, sleeps over at Ezra's house. Not THAT kind of sleeping over, she falls asleep on his bed with him all cuddled up cute. No sex, just sleep. Chelsea wakes up and watches him breathe because it's the romantic thing to do. But then it gets boring. She texts a few of her friends. She finishes the book she has in her purse. She creates animals in the ceiling texture (I made that one up) and Ezra sleeps on. She nudges him. He pushes her away, may have sworn at her and tells her to leave the dead alone. Finally, she gets bored and goes home. He wakes up and is ticked that she left.No creepy vampire who never sleeps watching every rise and fall of the chest. No memorizing the tiny, downy hairs on the skin, no smelling of the morning sleep smell. I've watched my husband sleep. I love him. But even I get antsy after about 48 seconds of it. Sales first book made me laugh like I was reading an episode of Seinfeld. She gave the characters personality and flair without overdoing it. I'm sure she takes her craft seriously but her writing style and character development isn't taken so seriously that each descriptor is written like poetry. It's fun. It's funny. It's how people talk. This continued with the second book but with some differences. I would call them improvements and I thought the first book was a LOT of fun. The first part of the book is setting up. This is Chelsea. This is Fiona. This is Ezra. Here are the bit players. Now meet the enemy camp. Here's Dan. He's cute. He's tall. We don't over analyze his looks, smell, or whatever else. Now the reader can create him in her mind. Here are the antics of their war. This is where Sales has me laughing out loud. Not so much what they did but their interactions. During a serious confrontation between Ezra and Chelsea, she makes her retort, hitches up her Colonial dress, straddles her bicycle, shoves her helmet over her cap, and peddles away. Don't read this late at night. I can't believe how hard I laughed at this one paragraph. I was much too tired to stop myself. I had to put myself to bed just to gain control. The second part of the book ties it all together. The way Chelsea and history are intertwined in an unhealthy manner. The way history is interpreted. Who interprets it. How all is not fair in love and war. How Chelsea grows as a person. It was sweet but not too sweet. It was perfect.
Past Perfect was exactly what I needed. I was completely stressed out with packing for school at the time I read it, and this book helped me relax (and better yet, it put a smile on my face!). Past Pefect is a light read, but it does cover some more serious subjects, like letting go and learning to live for today, not yesterday. I really liked how the themes tied in with the setting¿a Colonial reenactment attraction. Because Chelsea is almost literally stuck in the past, and because that¿s the way she¿s been raised, it¿s harder for her to focus on the present.Essex (the Colonial reenactment place) was a really neat setting; I¿ve always been a bit curious about historical interpreters (a.k.a. the people who dress up and pretend they live in the 1700¿s), and Past Perfect revealed that they¿re just regular people. Sure, there are some crazies (and boy, were they hilarious to read about!), but most people that work as interpreters are just like us. I also really loved the ¿War¿ (capital W) that went on between the Essex teens and the Civil War reenactment teens. Some seriously funny stuff went down, and I really enjoyed reading about the two sides constantly trying to outwit each other. Epic pranks were pulled!Chelsea was a really likable protagonist. I loved how smart and quick she was (her retorts almost always made me smirk)! She didn¿t really stand out as particularly unique, as far as protagonists go, but she was fun, and her narration always kept things exciting. Chelsea¿s friends, on the other hand, were very memorable. From Fiona and her long-hair fetish to Bryan the toad-like history buff, Past Perfect was chock-full of fabulous secondary characters.The last thing I¿ll mention is, of course, the romance. The forbidden love between Chelsea and Dan was kind of humorous, but the moments that they were actually together were precious. Their relationship started off flirty and tentative, but later progressed into something much more passionate. I loved how Leila Sales paced their romance¿it felt very real.If you¿re looking for an adorable romance with lots of laughs, Past Perfect is a perfect choice. I was hooked from page one, and found myself smiling all the way until the end.
Such an amazing book! This was a jump around and scream WOW book. This book was PERFECT! It was a light hearted contemporary with a very funny main character (well, all the characters, really), a very sweet romance and a summer of FUN. And it was the perfect book for my mood (and that's what I keep seeing in other peoples reviews too!). This book seriously gave me the giggles. Chelsea is a very funny character, she says, does and thinks in such a way that it's just funny (yeah, sorry, my description kind of fell flat there...). And I LOVED her! Such an awesome character that really jumped off the page at me. And yes, she had flaws, but she wouldn't be very real if she didn't, right? Now it's not all funny. Chelsea is getting over an ex, dealing with some issues with her new crush because he's kind of (well, really) off limits (even if it is for a kind of silly reason...). We watch as she realizes that maybe things weren't so perfect between her and her ex, as she figures out some complicated friendship things and discovers that living in the past isn't all that great. Honestly, there's not much to say about this one without major spoilers. It's just seriously amazing with characters that pop, a setting that rocks (and is unique), a romance (and kissing!) that will make you swoon and a bit of adventure to bring back those fun summers of your youth (at least if you're an adult like me ;) I borrowed this one but I'm seriously going to need my own copy cause this is book I'd like to reread over and over again!
Chelsea Glaser (known as Elizabeth Connelly when re-enacting) has been a part of the Essex Historical Colonial village re-enactment since she was a child. Her father is the silversmith and her mother is just as involved in it. Every summer the middle/high school employees have a war with the Civil War ReenactmentLand kids across the street. This year Chelsea is working with her best friend Fiona, her ex-boyfriend Ezra who she still isn't over, and she has been voted the lieutenant. Also, she has growing feelings for one of the Civil Warriors, Dan. Will Chelsea be able to work things out with Dan, or is she doomed to repeat her past mistakes with Ezra all over again? Who will win the war and will it even matter by the time it's over. I loved the snarkiness of the main characters in this book. Their whole obsession with ice cream made me laugh out loud, especially when Fiona and Chelsea expound on their ratings system at length. I adored Chelsea in general because she reminded me a lot of Mia in The Princess Diaries. This whole book has a Meg Cabot feel, with the historical reenactment lending it's own brand of special awesomeness. I loved the moments between Dan and Chelsea, especially the scene on the trampoline. The last 'war council' in the book was laugh out loud funny. I would recommend this to fans of light-hearted books with romance and historical elements. VERDICT: 4/5 Stars, plus hugs for Chelsea and Fiona*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*
A thoroughly enjoyable YA novel in the mode of (but not quite equal to) Sarah Dessen. As an aside: the gifter warned me to ignore the dust jacket image, which was excellent advice. It is entirely misleading as to the story and characterization. What editor in her right mind OK'd this design?
PAST PERFECT tells the story of sixteen-year-old Chelsea Glaser who is a part of Essex Historical Colonial Village. This novel is all about life in the past of two historical sights and villages. The characters are interpreters and have to represent the lives of their historical counterparts. Playing a role and knowing the script sounds like an easy task…until it is confronted with the real life of the 21st century. Beside their roles, both historical villages have a feud in common. PAST PERFECT is about a war between these two villages which is very entertaining. The jokes and pranks both villages come up with are so funny. Then Chelsea is on the warpath with love. There are two boys to occupy her and the readers thoughts with. It was nice to see her torn between her ex boyfriend and falling for someone who is strictly forbidden. One love is the more rational, the other is build on false memories and extenuations. I expected PAST PERFECT to circle around the relationship between Chelsea and Ezra in some way and I am pretty satisfied in which way Leila Sales solved it. Chelsea is our protagonist and I liked the features of her personality. What annoyed me a bit about her was her way of clinging to her ex-boyfriend all the time, analysing his every move. Some sequences displaying the historical living are too much for my taste, but still they are needed to build up an authentic setting and plot. Read PAST PERFECT, it's a cute new contemporary romance! THE VERDICT I immediately liked Leila Sales writing. It is youthful and has many jokes, comparisons and funny enumerations included. PAST PERFECT feels like its very own part of the YA novel history.
Past Perfect is a contemporary novel in the broadest sense, considering it takes place in the present day, but much of it is in 1774 and then a century later during the Civil War. Chelsea's job as a historical reenactor is hilarious, especially because of the War her coworkers have with the Civil War reenactors across the street. War strategy, planting of historically inaccurate objects (phones!), and a little romance make Leila Sales sophomore novel a winner. Sales has a talent with humor and Chelsea - historical name: Elizabeth Connelly - is funny. Her interactions with her parents, particularly with her talker of a father, had me giggling. The drama within Essex is unbelievable (in a good way) because these teens get so into their jobs. The War and the historical reenactment bring about some new words too; my favorite being 'farbs,' which is an insult towards the reenactors. I just want to run around giving dirty looks and calling people farbs now. The story focuses mostly on Chelsea and, surprisingly, not too much on her love life. It's more about her; growing up and moving on. Sure, Chelsea has an ex-boyfriend and things are complicated and painful between them, and now there's Dan and all the complications of liking a Civil Warrior, but really, it's more about Chelsea learning from the past and living in the present. Sales' writing of Chelsea and her situation is witty and intelligent. Everything with the War and all the historical information is absorbing. On top of that is a cast of supporting characters that are endlessly entertaining with their one liners and dedication to the War. Past Perfect is another wondrously amusing and charming book from Leila Sales, and even though I was sold on it before, now I know there won't be a book by Sales that I won't love. She gives us delightful characters, witty dialogue, comical situations, and romance that is both sweet and alluring. It would be incredibly difficult to not love this book and I can't recommend it enough. Leila Sales is contemporary force to be reckoned with.
I read Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales last year and I LOVED it. It is one of the funniest and the most realistic YA contemps I've ever read. She GETS it. So, of course I had to read Past Perfect. I mean, of course. I mean, even besides the fact that Leila freaking Sales wrote it. It takes place in a Colonial re-enactment town. I've been to Williamsburg and it rocked my socks off. Granted, I was 9. But I want to go back so badly. Anyway, Past Perfect was made of awesome. Not only did it take place in a Colonial re-enactment town, it was right across the freaking street from a Civil War re-enactment town. And the two towns were at war. And there are BOYS. I thought Chelsea was an excellent protagonist. She was snarky and bitter, as most teenagers are, and her situation, although a little out there, was certainly relatable in the overall themes. And Dan was all sorts of swoon worthy. I loved their banter and even though I didn't necessarily understand the big deal with their different situations, it made for an interesting conflict. Past Perfect is a hilarious and witty and very, very original young adult contemporary. I loved every single page and every single character, even the obnoxious ones. If you're looking for a laugh or for a fun romance or for an original story in a badass setting, definitely check out Past Perfect. And anything else Leila Sales ever writes.
Leila Sales writes with a fresh & biting voice that is both hilarious & insightful. Her style is almost reminiscent of internet speech, with plenty of italics & zippy one liners. It is fun & familiar, an easy & entertaining style that pulls readers into the flow of the novel. Adding to the novelty is the quirky & unexpected element of living history. The plot centers around an ongoing rivalry between 2 reenactment tourist traps -- Essex, the Revolutionary War town where Chelsea works, and their rival in a secret war, Civil War Reenactmentland. This unique element brings a fascinating flavor to the tale, immersing readers in the likely unknown world of war reenactment, and the relevance of history to modern life. Sales cleverly traces her heroine's growth through historical parallels, reminding both Chelsea and readers that those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it -- a lesson crucial to Chelsea's transformation. Chelsea is snarky & a little abrasive, but she's also just a teenage girl going through the same trials everyone experiences during adolescence. Her heartbreak over her recent (and apparently ugly) break-up is heartfelt, and will resonate with readers of all ages. Though her best friend Fiona can be a little harsh, it is clear she has Chelsea's best interests at heart, even if that means a little tough love. Fiona has a point about Chelsea's need to move on, and her inability to remember the bad times with the good -- but the novel also acknowledges that it's easier said than done. No arbitrary expiration date can be placed on heartache, and only time can heal some wounds. Chelsea's growth over the course of the novel is masterfully written, showing her development from a sarcastic shell hiding a wounded girl, to an empowered teen who knows what a healthy relationship looks like and what kind of love she deserves. Fortunately, Chelsea finds a much more worthy love interest in Dan. Unfortunately, he's the enemy -- setting off a Romeo and Juliet-esque tale of star-crossed love, though far sweeter and much less melodramatic. Dan is smart, passionate and kind, and he recognizes how special she is in a way that her ex-boyfriend never could. It is exciting to watch their illicit relationship develop through conversations about their hopes and dreams, family problems and secrets -- rather than mindless love-at-first-sight where they don't really know each other at all. Their clandestine encounters are steamy (though strictly PG), and there's just something irresistible about a forbidden love. Past Perfect is simultaneaously realistic and delightfully outrageous. Though there is no magic or monsters, the idea of a bunch of teens waging all-out war -- with Generals and Lieutenants, kidnappings and espionage -- is an imaginative flight of fancy. However, I was disappointed in Chelsea's revenge tactics toward the end of the novel. So often in these scenarios, the hurt heroine will take ridiculously disproportionate revenge, making her seem cruel & bitter rather than sympathetic-& Chelsea's betrayal late in the novel unfortunately falls into this category. This is a sweet contemporary read, full of laughs & love, fights & betrayals, history & hope. Chelsea's attitude & spunk will immediately endear her to readers, & Dan's charm & charisma will win their hearts. This is a thoughtful look at history-both national & personal-& the lessons learne