My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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….
My take: I have said this before. I want Leila Sales to be my best friend. Her sense of humor is stunningly funny. She writes relationships the way they are or can be. Teenage years are angst-ridden. On the other hand, they aren't as complicated as some books would have us believe. For instance, our protagonist, Chelsea, sleeps over at Ezra's house. Not THAT kind of sleeping over, she falls asleep on his bed with him all cuddled up cute. No sex, just sleep. Chelsea wakes up and watches him breathe because it's the romantic thing to do. But then it gets boring. She texts a few of her friends. She finishes the book she has in her purse. She creates animals in the ceiling texture (I made that one up) and Ezra sleeps on. She nudges him. He pushes her away, may have sworn at her and tells her to leave the dead alone. Finally, she gets bored and goes home. He wakes up and is ticked that she left.
No creepy vampire who never sleeps watching every rise and fall of the chest. No memorizing the tiny, downy hairs on the skin, no smelling of the morning sleep smell. I've watched my husband sleep. I love him. But even I get antsy after about 48 seconds of it.
Sales first book made me laugh like I was reading an episode of Seinfeld. She gave the characters personality and flair without overdoing it. I'm sure she takes her craft seriously but her writing style and character development isn't taken so seriously that each descriptor is written like poetry. It's fun. It's funny. It's how people talk. This continued with the second book but with some differences. I would call them improvements and I thought the first book was a LOT of fun.
The first part of the book is setting up. This is Chelsea. This is Fiona. This is Ezra. Here are the bit players. Now meet the enemy camp. Here's Dan. He's cute. He's tall. We don't over analyze his looks, smell, or whatever else. Now the reader can create him in her mind. Here are the antics of their war. This is where Sales has me laughing out loud. Not so much what they did but their interactions. During a serious confrontation between Ezra and Chelsea, she makes her retort, hitches up her Colonial dress, straddles her bicycle, shoves her helmet over her cap, and peddles away.
Don't read this late at night. I can't believe how hard I laughed at this one paragraph. I was much too tired to stop myself. I had to put myself to bed just to gain control.
The second part of the book ties it all together. The way Chelsea and history are intertwined in an unhealthy manner. The way history is interpreted. Who interprets it. How all is not fair in love and war. How Chelsea grows as a person. It was sweet but not too sweet. It was perfect.
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