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Past Perfect

Reading Group Guide

    A Reading Group Guide for:

    Past Perfect

    by Leila Sales

    About the Book
    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.

    Topics and Questions for Discussion
    On History:
    1. The book opens with Chelsea describing the three types of teenagers who would work at Colonial Essex Reenactment Village: history nerds, drama kids, and kids whose parents work there. Would you work there? Do you fit into any of the three groups?

    2. If you lived in Colonial America, what would you miss the most from this century? What perks would there be to living in 1774?

    3. Which early American time period would you rather reenact—the Revolutionary War or the Civil War?

    On Relationships:
    4. If you were supposed to spend the summer working at the same job as your ex, like Chelsea, what would you do?

    5. Fiona sets an arbitrary date for when Chelsea can speak to Ezra again. Do you think not talking to an ex can actually help you get over them?

    6. In the book they say, “ponytails are a deal-breaker.” Do you have any deal-breakers?

    7. What is the best dating advice you’ve ever received?

    8. Past Perfect has a lot to do with moving on. Do you think Chelsea would have moved on from Ezra without having Dan as a new crush?

    9. What do you think of the ending, when Chelsea doesn’t end up with her ex, Ezra?

    10. In your opinion, do you ever really get over someone?

    Other Questions:
    11. In the novel, Chelsea’s parents are a bit eccentric. What’s the most embarrassing thing your parents have ever put you through?

    12. After conducting your own research, like Fiona and Chelsea’s, what is the best ice cream flavor?

    Enhance Your Book Club

    You don’t have to work in a reenactment village like Chelsea to know your history! We recommend the following books to discover more about Colonial America and the Civil War Era: 1776 by David McCullough, George by Frank Keating, Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, Testament: A Soldier’s Story of the Civil War by Benson Bobrick, and Civil War Command and Strategy by Archer Jones.

    Bring a few pints of ice cream to your next book club meeting, and become ice cream connoisseurs like Chelsea and Fiona!

    Reading Group Guide written by Dawn Ryan

    This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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About the Author

Leila Sales
Photograph by Dan Dry

Leila Sales

Leila Sales grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from the University of Chicago. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children’s book publishing. Leila spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write. Learn more at and follow her on Twitter at @LeilaSalesBooks.