Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [YA]

Just Contemporary Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Past Perfect by Leila Sales was such a perfectly cute book. Chelsea has worked at Essex, a Colonial Reenactment village since she was a small child, because her parents are the blacksmith and wife. Chelsea wants something different this year, but allows her best friend to talk her into working again, so that they can be together.

Chelsea was such an interesting character. She's strong and smart but she's also insecure and afraid of change. I loved listening in on her conversations as well as her thoughts, because she has such an interesting view of life and the past. The Colonial Reenactment village has been a huge part of her life and it's given her an interesting perspective on the past, an idea of living history, both figuratively (they are reenactors, after all) but also literally.

But, perhaps because she has spent so much time being IN the past, Chelsea has a hard time with change. She is still hung up on her perfect ex-boyfriend (who is maybe not so perfect), she wants to do something, anything else than work another summer at Essex, but because it's safe and familiar, she lets her best friend talk her into working again and she shies away from anything that might be changing.

But the nature of people is to change and there is a lot this summer that Chelsea has to face up to.

I've read some reviews where people just didn't like Chelsea, found her to be whiny and obnoxious, and while I can see where they are coming from, this book didn't read that way to me at all. To me, Chelsea's voice was authentic and realistically teen. She is hung up on her ex-boyfriend, makes some stupid decisions and cares too much what other people think about her. I actually loved Chelsea's voice. I cringed more than a few times watching her interact with people and my heart went out to her but watching her start to learn about her mistakes, watching her realize that things aren't always as they seem, and aren't even always as we remember them being was awesome. I love great character growth and Chelsea's was gradual and believable.

I also have to say that I absolutely loved the war between the Colonial reenactors and the Civil War reenactors across the street. Each thinks their time period is the superior time and the summer is full of pranks and jokes. And seriously. Some of the pranks that they pulled had me laughing out loud. But it does add a little extra drama to Chelsea's life. She's elected as Lieutenant of the Colonial War effort AND on their first night of meetings, the Civil War kids kidnap her. The captor left to guard her is Dan. And, he's cute. They connect. There could be something there, BUT he's Civil War, she's Colonial and that should just. not. happen.

This is the type of book that is absolutely perfect to just curl up and read for a few hours. It's lighthearted and fun and just plain enjoyable. There is just enough depth to the story that it's kept from being considered total fluff, but it's also definitely on the lighter side of Contemporary. It's a book I'd recommend to pretty much anyone, Contemporary lover or not, because the writing is such spot on and there is something in this story that pretty much everyone will be able to relate to. I'm definitely going to be checking out Sales previous novel and will be watching her for whatever comes next.