Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Published: October 4, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Received: egalley from Simon & Schuster
A summer job is exactly the distraction that Chelsea needs in order to finally get over Ezra, the boy who dumped her and broke her heart to pieces just a few weeks before. So when Chelsea's best friend, Fiona, signs them up for roles at Essex Historical Colonial Village, Chelsea doesn't protest too hard, even though it means spending the summer surrounded by drama geeks and history nerds. Chelsea will do anything to forget Ezra.

But when Chelsea and Fiona show up for their new jobs, they find out Ezra's working there too. Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. ...or will this turn out to be exactly the summer that Chelsea needed, after all? {taken from}
What a cute, fun, surprisingly different contemp this turned out to be!  I had heard such great things about Leila Sales and her books, but had nothing to base it on.  So I was very eager to pick this one up.  Her writing style reminds me of a good mix between Jennifer Echols, Simone Elkeles, and Megan McCafferty - all of which are among my favorite authors!  If that comparison doesn't grab you, then perhaps my review will.

Chelsea lives in the historic town of Essex, Virginia.  Her parents work in the Colonial village of Essex that recreates what life was once like when the colonists settled on American soil.  Just across the road from Colonial Essex is Reenactmentland, or better known as the Civil War era.  The two separate attractions are constantly at "war" with one another.  Chelsea and her best friend Fiona have traded in their sneakers for colonial dresses this summer, where the two of them have joined forces with Essex to battle the employees from Reenactmentland.  Not only is Chelsea battling another century of American history from across the street, but she is also attempting to mend a broken heart from her ex-boyfriend Ezra.  To make things even more messy, Ezra has taken a summer job at Essex as well.  Just when Chelsea thought she had the summer to get over Ezra, she's reminded every day of what she's lost.

In the middle of war, Chelsea meets a boy named Dan from Reenactmentland.  He is the enemy, but the enemy has a great smile and flirtatious ways.  In secrecy, Chelsea ignores her broken heart and follows the urge to begin a relationship with Dan.  This was by far my favorite aspect of the story.  The connection between the two of these characters felt very real to me.  From the playful banter back and forth, to the heart stopping moments shared between breaths.  I couldn't get enough!  One word: trampoline :-) Oh yes.  There is a scene that involves a trampoline under a blanket of stars with roaming hands & lingering kisses.  

The swoon-worthy moments counteracted nicely with the playfulness of war between the two sides.  However it was Chelsea's character growth that stood out the most to me.  She began the summer as a broken hearted teenager living in the past and never able to move on.  By the end of the story she realizes to accept the past as it is, and live in the moment. The historical context presented through out the novel was something different, yet surprisingly I really enjoyed it.  Though this book is not published until October, I know it will be favorite among the YA contemp readers.  Be sure to get yourself a copy!

Thank you Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy to read for review.



  1. You have definitely made me want to read this, it sounds so cute!

  2. I agree with Allison! You have totally made me want to read this. It sounds absolutely adorable!

  3. Everyone has a trampoline story. ;) thanks for the review. It sounds fun.

  4. character growth! swooning! yes please!

  5. Can't wait to read this one! I love the cover! (yeah, I totally stick my tongue out when it's raining)


  6. I am so down for the whole history aspect of this, it sounds exactly like my sort of thing.

  7. Oh, will have to read this one! The historical aspect of it really intrigues me and Chelsea sounds like a solid main character to follow.

  8. It's definitely on my wish list. Leila Sales proved herself with Mostly Good Girls.

  9. Very interesting review. I will definitely be looking for this one. I like the historical aspect in a contemp book. Nice.

  10. This book is adorable...Leila = on my permanent "will read anything she writes ever" list!

  11. "mix between Jennifer Echols, Simone Elkeles, and Megan McCafferty"-this sounds awesome! :) I already have this on my TBR so for sure I will be picking it up! I also bought Mostly Good Girls a little while ago and I need to read that as well! :) And I think I'll love the history stuff! Great review!

  12. Oh my gosh this book sounds too cute! I can't wait to read it! Also I spy the names Jennifer Echols & Simone Elkeles (aside from Dessen they are my faves!), if this book is any similar to theirs you can count me in!

  13. I definitely love me some contemporary!! I will definitely have to look into this one! It looks super cute!

  14. "He is the enemy, but the enemy has a great smile and flirtatious ways."


    I still need to read Sales' other book! This book sounds a bit swoony. ;)


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