I fell in love with Leila Sales's This Song Will Save Your Life earlier this year, and I've been dying to read Past Perfect since then.
Luckily for me, Christine at the Bookish Daydreamer a.k.a. my book fairy godmother, got me a copy for Christmas, and I totally delved into this fantastic book!
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Simon Pulse
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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….
Fortunately for me, I was given a copy of Past Perfect by the lovely Christine over at The Bookish Daydreamer for Christmas, and totally delved into this fantastic book!
Things that worked:
Sales has a gift for writing characters that are smart and likable, but also completely relatable. Chelsea absolutely fits that description to a tee. She's funny and smart, but also honest and deadpan in a way that made me feel like I was hearing the voice of a friend, while reading.
The secondary characters were fantastic, as well. Sales has a gift for writing characters that are completely relatable, even when they're not being the nicest or most rational of people. I loved Dan and Chelsea's history-loving (and slightly kooky) parents the most.
Past Perfect has one of the most unusual contemporary settings I've ever read, but Sales makes working at Essex seem like the most natural, awesome job in the world. She deftly covers what it would be like to work in a reenactment village like Essex, and what it would be like viewing moderns from an reenactor's point of view.
I had plenty of questions about Chelsea's job while I was reading, and it literally felt like Sales was anticipating anything and everything I could possibly think of. That's the mark of someone who has seriously thought about her world-building, and knows it inside and out.
* The plotting/pacing
Sales uses ordinary, day-to-day events to plot and pace Chelsea's summer adventures at Essex perfectly. She also amps up the excitement by resuming a rivalry with a neighboring (!) reenactment camp, and the face-off between the two camps had me alternately laughing and chortling.
Trust me when I say you'll never look at civil war uniforms the same way, ever again…
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
If you want a fun, hilarious book with a likable heroine that you'll want to be BFFs with, a cute boy that you'll love to have as your"enemy", and a setting that you'll be dying to visit - scratchy costumes and all - look no further than this book.
I highly recommend this book for fans of YA contemporary fiction, and for anyone who wants a book that will make them laugh and remind them why they love reading. As for me, my love for this book + This Song Will Save Your Life, totally means that Leila Sales is on my auto-buy list from now on.