Past Perfect by Leila Sales

So glad that a galley of Past Perfect by Leila Sales became available in the Simon and Schuster GalleyGrab because I’ve been curious about the author. Plus, I’ve heard nothing but good things about her debut novel, Mostly Good Girls, so I jumped at the chance to read this. I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago but I wanted to post my review closer to the release date, October 4.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

A summer job is exactly the distraction that Chelsea needs in order to finally get over Ezra, the boy who dumped her and broke her heart to pieces just a few weeks before. So when Chelsea’s best friend, Fiona, signs them up for roles at Essex Historical Colonial Village, Chelsea doesn’t protest too hard, even though it means spending the summer surrounded by drama geeks and history nerds. Chelsea will do anything to forget Ezra.

But when Chelsea and Fiona show up for their new jobs, they find out Ezra’s working there too. Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past… or will this turn out to be exactly the summer that Chelsea needed, after all?

Don’t you just love that cover? Everything about it is cute – from the chalky raindrops to the pink font to the girl wearing a green rain coat and a flower clip. It’s kind of weird that the novel is set in summertime but the cover depicts a rainy day. Also, I don’t think the cover represents the historical village where Chelsea works for the summer. It still looks fun though and I wouldn’t be surprised if readers are encouraged to buy the book based on just the cover design. The contents of the book go well with the cover in terms of being light and fun. It’s all about Chelsea’s summer vacation and how she spends it by working at the historical village of Essex. Her parents are full-time employees of Essex so she’s been working there ever since she was a child but she was never really that into it. This year is different because it’s the first time that Chelsea’s best friend, Fiona, will be with her. Even though Chelsea would rather work at the mall like a normal teenage girl, she thinks being at Essex won’t be so bad with Fiona there. Her ex-boyfriend Ezra unexpectedly turns up as well. To complicate matters, Chelsea gets nominated as the Lieutenant in their war games against the teen employees of the other historical village in town.

I liked that Past Perfect is set in a historical village because that’s something different. I don’t think we have anything like that here in the Philippines? If we did, I’d enjoy visiting it. Even though I’m not that familiar with American history, I didn’t have any problems with the historical facts thrown around in this book. I guess I just wasn’t able to appreciate them as much as an American reader would be able to. I think it’s great that history was portrayed as something a bit nerdy but still fun. The reenactors in both camps take their jobs very seriously. The war games between the two sites was also interesting and I thought of it as a less intense version of the turf war in Jellicoe Road. I would have liked the romance to be more developed, it felt like there weren’t enough swoon-worthy scenes for me to be totally on-board. Overall, I enjoyed reading Past Perfect and would recommend it to fans of contemporary YA but I didn’t fall in love with it like I was expecting. I think I’m in the minority I’m still curious about Mostly Good Girls though.

Other reviews:
Good Books and Good Wine
The Allure of Books

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11 thoughts on “Past Perfect by Leila Sales

    • Yes, it is disappointing. I always go into a novel hoping that I’ll fall in love with it. More so if it came highly recommended by other bloggers. But I think I’ve gotten used to it because I only end up loving several books in a year.

  1. I wonder if you would have loved it more if you were American. Like for me, being a history nerd and having been through a million US history classes, I totally got the references and loved it. However, if I wasn’t as familiar, I don’t know that I would have loved it as much.

    • Hmm I was trying to decide if not being American was a factor and I think it was because all the historical info went straight over my head. I mostly ignored those parts and focused on the characters. But then I’ve seen some reviews from Aussie book bloggers and they ended up loving this book. And I think Carla from The Crooked Shelf gave it 5 stars and she’s from the UK. LOL I guess it all boils down to the fact that we can’t all love the same books. πŸ™‚

  2. Hmmm…this is interesting. I’m looking forward to reading it even more now just to see if the cultural difference is much of a factor. My parents live near Colonial Williamsburg and we go all the time. Good stuff. I have been wanting to read this since I heard the premise.

    • I think I’m in the minority in how I felt about this book because most reviews have been glowing. And like I said in my reply to April’s comment, even Aussie and UK bloggers fell in love with this. I’d be interested to see what you think because you have your own experience with a historical village.

      • Yes, but I lived in the UK as a kid and they wrote the book on historical reenactments. We just, as always, copied what they did. πŸ™‚
        I don’t know if the Australians do it though.

      • Oh I didn’t know that you liked in the UK as a child! Do you have a British accent? πŸ˜› What do you mean you copied what they did, so you also had historical reenactments in the UK?

  3. I was talking to someone the other day who felt the same as you do so you’re not alone. I remember being so surprised when I found out it was about a historical reenactment village. The cover does not reflect that at all. It’s cute in a romantic/contemporary kind of way. Thanks for your review! I’m not in a rush to read this now.

    • It’s good to know that I’m not alone in how I felt about this book, I really wanted to love it. I did like that it’s set in an unusual place, a historical village so that definitely made things more interesting. The cover is cute but it’s funny that it doesn’t have anything to do with the content. As always, I want to know what you’ll think of this but yep, no need to rush.

  4. Pingback: Past Perfect | One More Page

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