Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Hardcover: 360 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
What would you change?
Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.
Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it… at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I am a sucker for time travel books, always have been, always will be. The fact that this particular time travel book is paired with a sort of sci/fi thriller element? Sold. This story has two timelines: the future timeline, which is about two young adults who are stuck in a time loop, desperately trying to make sure that time travel itself is never invented, because it led to a lot of killings, some wars, and turning the US into a police state; one man is responsible for that: the Doctor, who invented the machine that allows people to travel back in time. He is keeping these two prisoner for reasons that become clear later in the story, interrogating them and torturing them for information. The past timeline is about Marina and James, two neighbors who have been best friends since forever, who are faced with a tragedy once James’s brother is assassinated.
It’s so hard to talk about this without spoiling everything. I think the structure lends itself well to the story, and though I think some of the twists are predictable, it’s still a genuinely entertaining and exciting. Everything flowed together nicely, and because of that it was a quick read! I didn’t have to waste any time in trying to figure out what was happening or going on; it all just worked. Also, this is a GOOD time travel book in that the time travel itself isn’t explained in too much detail; some authors go to far in making it scientific or realistic, but this gives a simple explanation for paradoxes and moves on. Because it’s not too detailed, it doesn’t seem weird or too convenient.
I love that the romance aspects were done in moderation; there’s no making out or weird love scenes while the characters are in danger or need to escape. Mostly, it’s just two people supporting each other and being invested in the other’s well-being, and I am all for that. It’s nice to see a realistic portrayal of what a romance would actually look like in a high stress situation.
More than anything, though, the characters are absolutely wonderful. The premise of this novel is a look at what choices mean for each of our lives; how we are shaped by our environment and the people around us, and how even the smallest decision can change that environment, which in turn enacts upon and changes us. This is all reflected in the portrayal of the characters, and it’s done beautifully. I’m guessing this is going to be one of my favorite YA reads for this year (yes, it’s early, but it’s so good!), and if you haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet, I highly recommend you think about doing so.