Synopsis: 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… (From Goodreads)
This might be the cutest book. Ever. This is the kind of book that you keep around to return to when you've had a really bad day and you need something to cheer you up. It's like watching When Harry Met Sally when you're nostalgic or watching The Notebook when you need to cry. When you want to be happy, read Past Perfect. I think I grinned through 3/4ths of this novel - either for its extreme cuteness or because the sense of humor was just perfect.
I picked up this book because of the cover (no shame) and for its premise. A teen girl who grew up working at a colonial reenactment village? Genius. First, it's a summer job, so it's full of teens - which equals plenty of drama. And what makes it even more marvelous is that there's another historical reenactment village right across the street. So there's a rivalry. It's all the things you love to see in a good contemporary novel, but it's all fresh and fun and wonderful. And, nearly the whole book takes place in costume.
The best part about the setting is it allows the great juxtaposition of the past and present happening at the same time. This is the genius of the book. It's all about leaving the past in the past, but still knowing or trying to find out what happened in order to learn from it. Or moving forward when you still have ties to that past. Then there's that moment where she brings up something you've always known but haven't been able to put into words. Leila Sales talks about our revisionist records of the past - she puts it into the perfect context so that the concept is graspable (if that's a word). It comes down to - we remember the past how we want to. And Leila Sales opens up that door to rethink the past and what we remember.
If you love contemporary, or even if you read it but don't pick it up very often, I definitely recommend this book. It's just so wonderful - and I know that I'll be revisiting it again someday. It still makes me smile just thinking about it.