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Past perfect


1st Simon Pulse hardcover ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon Pulse, 2011.
Physical Description:
306 pages ; 22 cm
Sixteen-year-old Chelsea knows what to expect when she returns for a summer of historical reenactment at Colonial Essex Village until she learns that her ex-boyfriend is working there, too, and then meets the very attractive Dan who works at a rival historical village.
Reading Level:
Ages 14 up.
Program Information:
MG+ Accelerated Reader AR 10.0 4.9 149897.

Reading Counts RC 9-12 5.4 17.0 54290.


Call Number

On Order



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....

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Chelsea Glaser, 16, is finally old enough to get a job at the mall where normal people spend their summers instead of at the Colonial Essex Village where she's been working with her parents since she was six. However, her friend Fiona convinces her to spend one more summer as a historical interpreter, and Chelsea's previous life comes back to haunt her when her ex-boyfriend, Ezra, shows up for orientation. It's not unusual for a main character to ponder reconnecting with an old flame or pursue a forbidden love interest, but what sets Past Perfect apart is that it takes place in a colonial reenactment village complete with costumes, romance, and an ongoing rivalry with the Civil War reenactors across the street. Chelsea is an appealing narrator with a sharp sense of humor, and readers will tear through this novel to find out whether she reunites with Ezra or gets together with Dan from the rival museum. Although there is no surprise ending here, this is a satisfying and fun read.-Rachael Myers-Ricker, Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Chelsea's grown up in the past -- 1774, to be specific. Every summer for years she has worked as a living history interpreter at Colonial Essex Village in Virginia alongside her father, the silversmith, and her mom, the silversmith's wife. Reluctantly, she's agreed to spend another summer wearing a suffocating dress and telling "moderners" where the bathroom is. But the boy who broke her heart is also working at Essex. And then there's the War: the bitter rivalry between Essex and Civil War Reenactmentland across the street. Chelsea risks her position as the War's lieutenant -- and her elationship with her best friend -- when she traitorously falls for a cute Civil War interpreter. With its unique premise, the book is filled with specifics about both Colonial life and the lives of the interpreters (look up what a farb is, for instance) and is narrated in Chelsea's acerbically funny voice. For example: "My father and I have the sort of loving relationship in which, whenever he says more than one sentence in a row to me, I want to stab myself in the heart with a recently formed silver knife." But the setting also allows for more serious meditations on the nature of history, memory, heartbreak, and love -- for example, this revelation from her otherwise-infuriating dad: "What 'really happened' doesn't matter. What matters is how we agree to remember it." Lesson learned, laughing all the way. rachel l. smith (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

farbs at Civil War Reenactmentland ("farb," the gravest of reenactor insults, meaning sloppy and careless in historical details) have the gall to think they're the better historical-reenactment site. Every summer, the teenage Colonials plan and implement excellent pranks on the teenage Confederates--and survive mutual pranking in return. But this year's War is more vicious than usual, and (oh, horrors) Chelsea has a crush on a Confederate reenactor. Chelsea's narration is peppered with sharp and witty observation, from her interaction with a tourist who thinks reenactors are American Girl dolls come to life to a conversation with aghast parents who insist they'll love her even if she makes the terrible, uneducated choice of choosing the Civil War over the Revolutionary. Hilarious costumed hijinks in the spirit of Meg Cabot. (Fiction. 11-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.