Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Galley Grab
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…
Leila Sales has officially become one of my auto-buy authors. I am in love with the characters that she creates! They are smart, witty, and quirky. They are hilariously entertaining, and they are these things in normal, everyday ways that cause them to feel effortlessly natural. It was true in Mostly Good Girls (which I adored), and it's true again in Past Perfect.

Chelsea, the main character, has an awesome and relatable voice. Her parents are history buffs and she's been sucked into their obsession via a job at a colonial reenactment village. (This allows for some serious history geeking to occur. Anachronisms are practically a crime. Violators are "farbs".) Once again, Leila Sales has drawn up a wonderful friendship in Chelsea and Fiona. Her characters feel incredibly authentic, and it makes it easy to love them and laugh with them and cheer for them.

The conflict in Past Perfect is war. The colonial reenactment village is at war with the Civil War reenactment camp across the street, and anything goes. The plot is more complicated than that, since Chelsea becomes interested in one of the boys from the Civil War camp. It's a little difficult for them to separate work and their personal business in the midst of a war, and to keep it a secret from their co-workers! And can they trust each other? There's a little friendship and ex-boyfriend drama going on as well. The pacing is steady and it makes for a quick, fun read. Leila Sales also includes some really interesting commentary on history and memory throughout the novel, which I really love. (Inconsistencies in memory has always been something that I love to see addressed in literature. I think it's fascinating, personally, the way that our memories can fool us.)

This book is a ton of fun. I enjoyed it immensely and I'd recommend it to fans of Leila Sales, history lovers, and appreciators of well-written realistic fiction.


  1. This is the second positive review I've read of this book so it's getting bumped up my TBR list pretty quickly :)

  2. And again, you've made me want to add another contemp to my TBR. How do you keep doing that?!? :P Great review...I will definitely have to check this one out.

  3. I loved this one too! I haven't read Mostly Good Girls but heard it's great so I have it on my WL.
    "They are hilariously entertaining, and they are these things in normal, everyday ways that cause them to feel effortlessly natural."
    YES! I love that in books, where the characters just think things in a way that are just hilarious. And it's just 'them'. Love it!

  4. This cover alone makes me so happy! I can't wait to get my hands on this one. Maybe I'll have to drive out to the bookstore tomorrow and get it!

    I'm a history graduate student so I'm sure I'll love this one.

    Great review!

    Rie @ Mission to Read

  5. Great review, I was nodding along while I was reading it. I thought this book was adorable and am definitely going to have to read more books by Leila Sales.


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