PAST PERFECT Guest Post by Leila Sales & Book Review

We’re rolling into Week Two of the PAST PERFECT tour with Teen Book Scene. Stop over at The Book Cellar tomorrow for a review! Today, author Leila Sales has stopped by A Backwards Story with a guest post, followed by my review!

When I'm Not Writing by Leila Sales

Mostly when I’m not writing, I’m sleeping. I really, really love sleeping. My father has compared the way I sleep to “a dog eating food”—i.e. I will keep doing it until you forcibly take it away from me.

I work full-time as a children’s book editor at a publishing company in New York City. I love it! All day I get to be surrounded by stories, my wonderful co-workers, and sometimes cupcakes. The only major downside of my job is that it’s forty hours a week when I am neither writing nor sleeping.

I spend a lot of time listening to music. Either on my computer as I’m writing, or at concerts, or walking outside at night with my iPod on. I like to dance, even though I am not technically a “good” dancer. I have about three moves, and one of them is jumping up and down while clapping my hands. But I do my three moves a LOT. I spend a surprising percentage of each week jumping up and down while clapping my hands. Some of my favorite musical genres are oldies, Britpop, indiepop, and whatever was considered ‘adult alternative’ in the 90s.

Most of the rest of the time I am thinking about my hair. Like, is it curly enough? Are there things I could be doing to make it more curly? Why is there one strand of it that is still NOT CURLING? Can I just hack that strand off? Would that look weird? Or maybe cool, in an avant-garde way?

Also I often think about cats (how cute they are) and chocolate (how delicious it tastes). Then I eat some chocolate.

That pretty much sums up how I spend my time when I’m not writing.

Thank you for letting us peek into your non-writing life, Leila!

Does Leila’s post make you want to know more about PAST PERFECT? Read on!

Author: Leila Sales
Release Date: Out Now (Oct. 4, 2011)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Received: e-ARC from Galley Grab for review


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….

If you’re looking for a light, sweet read, PAST PERFECT might be just what you’re looking for. Even better? The book takes place over the summer, outside of the traditional school setting. Even more unusual? It takes place at a colonial reenactment camp. When I was younger, there was a mystery novel (I forget its title now, sadly) that I read again and again that took place at a renaissance reenactment camp, and this brought back memories of that beloved book.

The main character, Chelsea, has grown up working at Colonial Essex Village thanks to her parents, who have worked alongside her. She wanted this summer to be different and was excited about working at the mall with her best friend Fiona…until Fiona decided to work at Essex, of course. Now back for another summer, Chelsea must avoid her ex-boyfriend who has suddenly started working at the camp, a toad-like guy who has always had a crush on her, AND help come up with a strategy to defeat Civil War Reenactmentland, which is located right across the street. Two living history museums shouldn’t be so close to one another, especially since their employees hate one another. Every summer, the junior members plot war strategy in private, never letting the adults in on what’s taking place. The war reminds me a bit of the no-holds approach seen in Melina Marchetta’s Printz-winning novel JELLICOE ROAD, especially since there is chemistry between members of the two opposing sides. After being kidnapped by the Civil Warriors (I love that term) the first night of war, Chelsea slowly begins falling for Dan despite being on opposite ends of the battlefield. Their relationship had a very ROMEO AND JULIET feel to it.

PAST PERFECT was full of fun moments such as a prank involving modern technology. I also like the way Leila Sales created a fun best friend in Fiona and made her and Chelsea ice cream connoisseurs. There were times when Chelsea would throw about sentences laced with innuendo that didn’t seem like something she would normally say, and they usually only occurred when boys were around. Other times, the lines are brilliant and laugh out loud funny. The ending could have also been a little more flesh-out, but that could have just been me wanting more. As with many teen romances, I wish the characters could be together a little longer before the book concludes because the characters worked so hard to get where they wind up. At the same time, the scenes Chelsea and Dan did have together stole the show. My favorite scene involving the two of them occurred on a trampoline, where for a moment, they could forget everything and just be themselves. While this isn’t a weighty book in terms of content, it is a fun read that will make you want to visit a living history museum!


This cover is so fun and playful. I love the way the colors contrast with one another. The moment I saw it, I wanted to know what PAST PERFECT was about. That said…this cover has NOTHING to do with the story. 1) It takes place during summer (so why would she be at school in front of a chalkboard?) AND that rain jacket looks too hot, 2) Um, why would Chelsea be wearing a rain jacket when it never even rained?, and 3) For the most part, the characters are always dressed in uniform, not modern clothing. I do get the message behind the cover and the way the model is pretending that it’s raining when it really isn’t, just like the characters are pretending they’re from times long past when they aren’t, but other than that, it really doesn’t make sense. It’s sad, because I really do love this cover…


  1. I LOVED this book! I read it last week and once I started I couldn't put it down, it was ADORABLE!

    That guest post is awesome too! Leila seems like a really funny person and I've heard she's like that in real life.

  2. Good and another post from you admin :)
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