Thursday, July 11, 2013

[Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales]

"Past Perfect"
Author: Leila Sales
Pages: 306
Genre: YA Contemporary
Date Published: October 4th, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format Read: Finished copy from the library


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…

My Thoughts:

This book had be giggling like a little school girl on each and every page, which either means that it was genuinely hilarious or that I'm in the middle of a nervous breakdown.  I seem to be doing fine, so I'm going to go with the fact that this book was actually laugh out loud funny.  Everything about Past Perfect screamed "perfect summer read" when I first heard about it, and I'm happy to say that it lived up to the potential that I projected on to it.  Leila Sales is a master of blending funny dialogue with actually progressing a plot at the same time.  

Take a war, two historical reenactment theme parks across the street from each other and a girl trying to figure out how the world works and those are the things that make this book tick.  I can't even handle how awesome the Colonial and Civil War reenactment parks were.  It's one of the most interesting plot tools that I've uncovered lately and I was so glad that it was just as fun and laugh inducing as I had hoped.  Sales adds references to history and shows what it's really like in the eyes of a high schooler who has grown up between a normal life and a historically accurate Colonial town.  The things that Chelsea saw and told you as a reader were amazing!

I really loved Chelsea's voice.  And even though some things about her grated on me, she grew, she grew so much in the course of her summer at Essex.  Seriously, some of her mooning over her ex Ezra was nerve grating, but the way Sales wraps up the story, totally redeems all of that.  Chelsea's large amount of snark and calling it how it was made her the perfect narrator for this book.  It was fun to watch her go from someone who didn't want to work in Essex another year, to a war leader!  Chelsea and her best friend Fiona's relationship was real.  It was messy and full of little bits of drama, but in the end they were there for each other.  Pointing out each others delusions and working through their life issues and over all just growing up.  Plus Fiona always had a good one liner in her back pocket! 

The boys of the novel introduced me to some of the swooniest moments that I've ever read.  Ezra, well let's just say that I thought he was a total tool and that I was right.  But he had his place in the story.  He had purpose and the purpose that he had (even though I can't tell you what it was) really pulled the plot together for me.  And good old Danny boy.  Well, Dan brought us that moment of Swoon that I already mentioned.  I love how Dan was a part of the Civil War reenactment.  Which causes a whole bunch of drama since Chelsea is the right hand man in the war effort to beat them.  Let's just say that they have issues, but that I really liked me some Dan!

Which brings us to the most ridiculous/most brilliant part of the plot.  The war between the teenagers who work in the opposing reenactment villages!  It's gets ugly, but it keeps things equally fluffy and dramatic at the same time.  It's a creative plot tool, brought to us out of the folds of Sales' mind and in my opinion it was a great move on her part.  The pranks and the black eyes all end up being worth it in the end.

This is one of the most creative summer stories that I've read in a long time.  If you're looking to laugh out loud and read a novel with a descent amount of meat on it's bones, this one could be the one for you.  Plus who doesn't like to read about Colonial grave yards...

               4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

Oh, yay! I'm glad you picked this one up. It really is such a great summer book. I loved the reenactment setting and really enjoyed Chelsea's voice. Great review!

Erika said...

I didn't know this book had war reenactment parks in it. That does sound funny! Thanks for the review.

Renae M. said...

Haha! This book sounds cute and fun. The reenactment plot point sounds so unique and wacky and it's totally memorable, based on what you've said.