Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
e-ARC, 303 pages
Date Published: October 4, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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….
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.

Opening line: 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. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
The lamest guy I know wants to date me. My ex-boyfriend wants to be friends. The only guy who has any potential lives ninety years too late. I hate boys, and my life is a joke. ~ pg. 69
And I lovelovelove this one:
     “So it seems like all of history is concurrent. It’s not a linear series of events. It’s all happening simultaneously. There is one moment, and that moment is now, and we are always present in it. So I’m not reenacting history so much as just living every time at once.” ~ pg. 175

*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Leila Sales online:
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BrittLit said...

Wow, this one sounds super fun. It is surprising to hear that it doesn't have a lot to do with her love life. "I hate boys, and my life is a joke." Is a great line. Great review.

Lori said...

LOVED this book! I also think that I am going to love anything that Leila Sales writes. She is a pro at this genre!

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