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Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

Release Date: 10/4/2011

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About the Book: All Chelsea wants this summer is to have a normal job like a normal teen and have a normal summer. Instead, she's working yet again at Essex Colonial Village as a historical reenactor. Chelsea's parents both work at Essex and Chelsea has spent her life growing up around colonial times.

When her ex-boyfriend Ezra shows up to work at Essex as well, Chelsea isn't sure she can deal with Ezra being there. She's trying to get over him, but she's having a hard time letting go. Chelsea finds herself with a new crush, only he just happens to be from the wrong time period-he works at Civil War Reenactmentland, the arch-rivals of Essex. Can Chelsea let go of her ex and find love again? Or is Chelsea doomed to repeat the past and fall for the wrong guy?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was sold on this book when I heard it was about a girl who worked as a historical reeanctor. I can say that's one premise I don't think I've encountered in a book I've read before! Plus, there's a part of me that thinks that job would be really fun!

Past Perfect is a great contemporary romance with a bit of a twist. The setting of taking place at reenactment villages adds for a unique storyline.While we may have read a forbidden romance story before, the setting gives in a fresh new feel. There is a lot of humor in this book which makes it even more fun to read. It takes a lot for a book to make me laugh out loud, but this book had me giggling quite a bit. Chelsea has just the right amount of snark to her to make me really like her.

I loved the battle between the colonial village and the civil war village. I thought this added a very funny plotline to the story and really helped the book stand out-again, it gave it something different to help it from feeling like the same old romance. I also really liked that while it's a romance, and a sweet and charming romance at that, Chelsea also has some struggles and it's not an easy romance. Her crush Dan is part of the enemy and she shouldn't be crushing on Dan to begin with. She's very loyal to Essex and can't imagine herself with someone who likes the civil war which adds a layer of conflict to their developing romance.

Chelsea also is dealing with getting over her ex. They've been broken up for a few months, but Chelsea is in that stage where she only remembers the good and perfect things about Ezra. She's glossing over their relationship and thinking that she'd like to take him back and can't understand why he doesn't want her anymore. I've been in that situation before and I wish teen me could have read this book and witnessed Chelsea's development so maybe I wouldn't have made such a fool of myself many years ago. In some ways this part of the story reminded me of a teen version of 500 Days of Summer meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This aspect of the story combined with the unique setting is what I enjoyed most. I liked getting to be with Chelsea as she examined her past relationship and learned to let go.

The romance was sweet and fun, but I felt like I wanted to get to know Dan more. We get to know him a little bit, but I wanted more development between the two of them. I think at times I wasn't sure I really bought their romance, especially in the beginning. I also felt at times Chelsea was a bit whiny, but I think this is true to her character, as I remember being pretty whiny and annoying with friends when I was rehashing old relationships (sorry guys!).

Overall, this is a fun, unique take on contemporary romance. I would also recommend this is a great post-breakup read-because you know the world always needs more of those!:) Open up a carton of Ben & Jerry's and settle in with Past Perfect and you've got the recipe for a great reading date!

Book Pairings: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from e-galley sent by publisher for review

Comments

  1. I didn't really think of this as a contemporary romance. The romance angle was the weakest part of the story for me. The rest however was all kinds of fun! (And I agree with your assessment of Chelsea. She was a typical whiny teen at times.)

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  2. I'm reading this novel now. I'm really enjoying it, but I agree that I think Chelsea is a bit whiny and I'm not particularly liking her best friends. I feel like she isn't really there for Chelsea and doesn't care about her feelings.

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  3. Sarah-Yeah, it's more of a getting over a romance with a new romance put in. I don't know that's it's really romance heavy, but I'd give it to readers looking for a bit of a love story.

    Lisa-I'm glad you like it! Her best friend didn't bother me as much, but I understand how she can be annoying.

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  4. I can't wait to get this one! It looks fantastic.

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  5. Ah, this looks adorable and totally what I need, right now.

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  6. can't wait to read this oneee :)

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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee