Title: Past PerfectI received this book from my secret santa (aka Pink Polka Dotted Blog) and was SO thrilled because I love YA contemporary and have wanted to read this one for a while.
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 4th 2011
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
Let’s discuss the cover, first of all. I love it, I think it’s cute, but it didn’t capture the story. The novel is about the MC, Chelsea, and her summer at the local reenacting center, Essex Historical Colonial Village. Her family has been reenacting for years and Chelsea didn’t want to do it this summer, but her BFF talked her into it. She’s trying to get over her ex, Ezra, when he shows up at Essex on the first day of summer and Chelsea discovers she’s going to have to work with him. All. Summer.
So here we can already see some problems developing, but that’s not why I liked it so much. Chelsea as a character is witty, funny, and someone I can picture myself being friends with. Her and her BFF have witty banter back and forth, and her relationship with her parents (always so hilarious) is very realistic. What I really enjoyed about this book, though, was the kind of forbidden romance aspect. Across the way of Essex is the “rival” reenacting center, and every year the teens from each center go “at war” with each other (which is mainly pulling pranks that will get the other team in trouble). What Chelsea didn’t expect was to fall for Dan, the guy from the other side.
I love, love, loved the scenes with Dan and wished there were more. I could feel their chemistry, natural and yet poignant and witty. I wanted to see what was going to happen if one of the teams found out they liked each other and had been seeing each other.
I also enjoyed this concept. Confession: in middle school, I used to reenact (Civil War era) with one of my good friends whose parents were into reenacting. I KNOW, SO NERDY OMG. But 11 year old me thought it was awesome, and I could see where Chelsea was coming from when she said she was outgrowing it. Yet in this town it was a job that many teens took for the summer, so it felt believably contrived. I liked that the underlying theme was learning from the past (because they were reenacting, GET IT?) not only from past wars and history, but from Chelsea’s own personal mistakes. The historical accuracy just added to that theme and made it feel even more real.
If you’re into fun, lighthearted contemporary reads, PAST PERFECT is for you.