Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Past Perfect by Leila Sales
Publication date: Oct. 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: 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. (Adapted

The good
Past Perfect is my second Leila Sales book and I'm starting to see a pattern. One, her writing is awesome and two, her stories contain such unique settings. I mean two reenactment colonies literally at war with each other? It's a little bit out there but what ultimately grounds it (and sucks you in!) are the characters. Chelsea and her family have been working at the Essex Historical Colonial Village pretty much her entire life. When she goes back for another summer, her best friend Fiona will be working with her but unfortunately so will Ezra. Also known as the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart and who Chelsea is desperate to get over.  This seems like the ultimate disaster until their colonial village engages in their annual "war" with the Civil War reenactment colony across the street. The war ends up becoming the catalyst for many changes and realizations in Chelsea's summer.

Chelsea just wants a break from history (or so she says). She'd much rather be working at the mall with Fiona and rating ice cream every day -- a little quirk of their friendship that I loved and want to do myself. She'd also rather be over her ex but that's not happening either. The truth is, Chelsea has a hard time dealing with change and letting go of the past. And I related to her so much for that sentiment because I was the exact same way at her age (and well after). But the summer forces Chelsea to learn to accept change. She meets a guy that she has swoon-worthy chemistry with but fights her feelings because of course, he's on the opposing side of the reenactment war. I loved them together. Then her friendship with Fiona was another highlight. They face some of their own obstacles which were so realistic and honest. But most importantly, Chelsea comes to terms with the truth of her past relationship and how she prevented herself from moving forward. And ultimately, that's what her summer becomes about. Moving forward and growing up.

(No) Reservations
None! Just another winner from Leila Sales.

Do I recommend?
I do! I was already a fan of Leila Sales' writing after reading This Song Will Save Your Life and now I know I'll be reading every other book she comes out with.

Happy reading!


  1. I've never read a book by this author, but this one sounds really interesting! I think the historical village setting is really unique. Definitely adding to my TBR

    - Barbara @ My Bibliophile Mind

  2. I need to read this already!! I loved This Song Will Save Your Life and I don't think i've heard a bad thing about this one! Thanks for putting it back on my radar!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  3. I loved this one, especially the setting! I was excited when I saw that you had reviewed it - and even more so when I saw you enjoyed it as much as you did! I loved the characters and their relationships. I recently read The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando, which is also set in a historical reenactment village. It was fun, too!

  4. I bought Past Perfect recently, and am definitely looking forward to reading it! It sounds like it'll be so fun, and I love that the friendship and romance felt authentic to you. Plus, the concept of a historic reenactment village is pretty dang cool! I always loved the idea of those, particularly since I got to visit one or two on field trips when I was still in school in the US. Looking forward to reading this one!


with love,