Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Past Perfct

Past Perfect
By Leila Sales

Published: October 4th 2011 by Simon Pulse
Read from:  January 09-11, 2012
Number of pages: 306
Source:  HS Library
Find it on:
goodreadsindie Bound

Summary: 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….


I knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and yes I’m one of those people you see at the Renaissance Faire dressed in costume and if 18th and 19th century costumes were so expensive I would probably have those too. I also worked in a living history museum one summer (sadly it wasn’t as an interpreter, so no period dress for me.) So, when I the synopsis of Past Perfect my inner history geek jumped for joy. A YA novel set in an historical reenactment village *yay!*

The premise of the book is super cute too. Chelsea has worked at Essex Historical Colonial Village as an historical interpreter since she was little. She is trying to get over her ex, who decides to work at Essex over the summer too. At the same time she is trying not to fall for a boy from the rival civil war camp across the street, because every year the junior interrupters from the colonial village (unbeknownst to the adults) go to war with the kids from the civil war camp , so falling for a boy from the wrong century is a major problem. It’s very R&J/West Side Story, by no means an original story, but the setting makes it very unique and a whole lot of fun.

I also really liked Chelsea, she was fun to read and I felt I could really relate to her. That could be due to the fact that although Chelsea doesn’t think of herself as a “history nerd” she fosters a love for history that comes from growing up around it, and the fact that she says/thinks things like this “In his suspenders, loose-fitting vest, and felt hat, he looked even better than when I'd seen him in a T-shit and cut-offs. What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That's Just who I am.” (pg. 126.) Which I can absolutely relate to. Love of history withstanding, Chelsea is very genuine and a joy to read. She isn’t perfect by any means and has flaws but it makes her believable and that is why I enjoyed reading her.

The book has a quite a bit of historical jargon and references which might get overlooked if you’re not a history person, but Leila Sales does a very good job of explaining the nuances of working in a living history museum. You can tell she’s had experience in this environment with historical reenactors. Ms. Sales also does a fantastic job of explaining the way we choose to portray the past. History happens to those who have lived it, and written by those who remember or interpret it. Whether it’s a major historical event like the Boston Massacre or our own life it’s how we choose to remember the past or interpreted the facts that determines how the past is remembered.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation:

Ireally enjoyed Past Perfect. The setting was original and fun (mind you I’m a bit biased since I’m a total history geek). The characters are honest and genuine, they all have flaws, yet you can’t help but root for them. The story was believable, which is a big deal to me when dealing with realistic fiction, if I want to suspend my disbelief I’ll read fantasy and sci-fi books (which I read quite a bit of) but I like my realistic fiction to be just that, realistic. Over all it’s a book I truly enjoyed and would absolutely recommend, especially if you are a bit of a history geek like me.

The Rating:

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