Publishing Info: May 1, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 11, 2014
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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…
I had my eye on PAST PERFECT for a while so I was so excited with Estelle from Rather Be Reading got it for me as a Secret Santa gift this past Christmas! I knew I wanted to read it at the right time and I started it on the 4th of July when I was looking for a cute summery book and lo and behold, there’s a whole 4th of July chapter so that just worked perfectly!
PAST PERFECT was an excellent book. It follows the story of Chelsea during the summer before her senior year of high school working at the local historical reenactment village… mainly because her parents work there and that’s pretty much always been her summer job (even before she was technically allowed to work). I just loved the historical reenactment angle of the book. I mean, how original is that!? It was so much fun to read about too, especially when sabotage with anachronisms started to pop up!
The atmosphere of the book was really one of my favorite things about it. I’ve actually visited a historical reenactment village with my family on vacation but I was also about… seven years old or so (pictures below!) so I had a bit of a past connection to the setting (not like I remember a LOT of it but knowing I was somewhere like that was cute) and it was just so much fun to experience. I could really picture myself in the story and I could picture the characters there. The overall feel just felt so real and genuine.
The romance was JUST ADORABLE and the forbidden romance is another one of my favorites. Once the rival reenactment village is introduced, don’t you just KNOW that the love interest will be one of those guys. (And also, colonial versus Civil War. I just love it.) I just loved the way the romance developed and unfolded. The two characters had great chemistry and I couldn’t wait for them to finally get together.
I also really connected a lot to Chelsea and her boy situation. She ends up working at the historical village again after deciding specifically not to because her best friend really wants to and Chelsea’s ex-boyfriend also happens to end up working there too… High school drama abound! I could relate to Chelsea though. She wasn’t head over heels for her ex but after the relationship is ended and on less than favorable terms, Chelsea had a hard time letting it go. I could totally understand where she’s coming from too. I’ve had a few crushes gone bad that totally seemed like I lost something huge when things didn’t work out but after a different perspective from friends and giving it some time, I could tell that it just wasn’t meant to be and was never that amazing in the first place.
Basically PAST PERFECT was adorable. I had so much fun reading it and I really made a connection with the characters and the setting. I was surprised that it actually had some really great analogies that led to some really fantastic messages and lessons. I absolutely loved the ending and how everything wrapped up so well.
I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Chelsea // Character Obsessions: Ezra, historical accuracy.
Chelsea was a really fun many character! She felt like a normal girl despite her quirky job and I really felt like I understood her on so many different levels. She just felt like a normal teenager with her teenage woes and it was really great to see her have a few revelations thoughout the course of the book. She really matured a lot by the end.
Dan // Character Obsessions: The Civil War, family.
Dan was the perfect love interest. He was cute, awkward, funny, and of course… the enemy! But whereas some of the kids took their roles within their communities really seriously, Dan didn’t as much. It was still important for him to do his job well but when it came to real life or the war, he chose real life and other kids got caught up in their war games. I really liked him a lot. He did do one thing where I was like, “That’s super duper NOT cool” but I guess for the sake of the overall picture, I can overlook that.
Kept Me Hooked On: Historical elements. I had so much fun with the reenactment aspect of this book! It was so much fun to see the characters working there and the “behind-the-scenes” part of it as well! Not always as glamorous as it seems, either!
Left Me Wanting More: Family moments. The only thing I really wanted more of was probably a better family connection. Chelsea seems to really not like her dad and find him mostly annoying. I guess not all kids will love their parents and they do have a really nice heart-to-heart at the end of the book, but sometimes it felt a bit harsh the way she described her dad.
This was such a fun book with so many original elements too. It was perfect for summer but really is cute for any time of the year! Thanks to Estelle for the gift and I hope other people enjoy this one as well!
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(Click the cover to see my review!)