Past Perfect is set in the world of historical reenactments. Not the wildly inaccurate world of renaissance/mid-evil fairs [my local annual faire has steam-punk and anime thrown in an eclectic mix of time periods.] but a rivalry between a Colonial and Civil War. The attractions have their mix of history nerds vs. actors but we're only told this happens. The focus is on when things get out of hand one summer between the teenagers of the two parks.
This novel has minimal adult involvement that you might expect from a YA novel. The parental advice comes out of Chelsea father love of hearing himself talk than actively taking notice of anything in his child's life.
None of the adults ever realise what the kids are doing even people actually get hurt. I was surprised the war never reached the adults considering how seriously they took the reenactments themselves.
This book was very fun and entertaining but I was disappointed we never met the fake Abigal Adams. Chelsea mentions in the beginning of the book that the lady took her role too seriously. I've heard stories from coworkers active in the local Renaissance faire that behave just like in this book. From actively forbidding fraternising of those they don't like or believing they are in character 24/7 not to mention cohabiting with their "queen".
I was hoping for a character like in the wonderful film "Role Models". The scene with the "king" at the burger hut kills me every time. "They eat there before every battle."
I tagged along to the faire one year and was endlessly amused but was called out for appearing "confused" by everyone. I do not belong to this world but find the larping concept fascinating.
This book often reminded me of Melina Marchetta's "Jellicoe Road" with some of the film Role Models mixed in but in a good way.
The theme of this book was Chelsea getting over the heartbreak of being dumped.
I loved how this was portrayed in the book. How you choose to interpret the past or other's intentions, emotions, etc. are the epitome of having relationships.
The analogy of the victor writing the history books was a nice touch for using the historical reenactment setting to tell this story.
My favourite part was that a character called Bryan was constantly referred to appearing like a toad. My twin sister and I have always assigned animal attributes to people.
This unfortunate kids crush on Chelsea rang very true.
The only truly negative aspect of the book was the often used pool party scene depicted. Why must this scene where lead girl borrows swim suit from rich girl feature so often?