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…
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.