by Cristin Terrill
Read: December 8 - 10, 2013
Published: September 3, 2013 by Disney HyperionSource: BEA
Category: Time travel, Sci-fi, YA
Series: All Our Yesterdays # 1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon'
"You have to kill him." 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 the day he moved next door when 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 apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. 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.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
All Our Yesterdays was one of my most anticipated fall books, but because I was so excited to read it, I got a tad paralyzed about starting the story when it released in September. I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype I've heard and also manufactured in my head. I finally picked up All Our Yesterdays at the end of the year in my effort to read 2013 books that I'd missed before 2014 begins. I'm very thankful that I did, because this story was completely amazing and definitely a favorite of the year!
Em is imprisoned in a cell in an unidentified government facility. She is tortured daily by sadistic men she calls the Doctor and the Dictator, and her only companion and confidant is Finn, the boy in the cell next to hers, who's humor and encouragement has become her lifeline. When Em discovers a list of instructions written in her own hand that says "you have to kill him", she knows that she must act to prevent the destruction of the world happening all around her.
Marina is a teen who seems to have everything - she is wealthy, has popular friends and goes to one of the best private schools in DC. But she still hasn't gotten the one thing she really wants. Marina is in love with her brilliant best friend and neighbor James, and he has no idea. James is so smart that he skipped several grades and is now in college working on his masters. He's just come home for the winter holiday, and Marina is determined to tell him how she feels.
If you haven't guessed already, All Our Yesterdays features time travel. If that makes you nervous, the travel in this book is both complex and manageable. It made my head spin a bit at the end, but I was able to grasp it, and also found it completely fascinating. I think it made me feel smarter too.
I'm sure you're also wondering how Em, Marina, Finn and James all fit together. Or maybe you already know. Although I'm not going to tell you, just in case you don't, what I love about the four of them is the way that Terrill was able to make me sympathize with them, especially Em and Marina. Although I fell a little harder for Em, I thought both of their characterizations were believable. I also loved the relationships between the characters and within themselves. There are some lovely and poignant reflective scenes in this book, especially as Em and Finn consider their past.
It's tricky to talk about the romance in All Our Yesterdays without giving anything away. The simple answer is that there is no love triangle, though possibly a Linear Love Progression, but it's one that I wouldn't fret about if I were you. The way it plays out is integral to this book, and it's something that I really enjoyed. I liked seeing the ways the romance matured and steadied over time, along with the growth of the characters.
All Our Yesterdays has swift moving action and a really well constructed plot. The way the story and time travel weaves together is exciting and kept me turing the pages fast, especially near the end where everything culminates in an explosive conclusion. This is a 2013 book not to miss!
Love Triangle Factor: Between None and It's Complicated
Cliffhanger Scale: Low - This is one of those ends that seems deceptively quiet, as if it could be a completed standalone. But I have a lot of questions about the last two chapters, and I know this is a duet. I'm hoping the sequel moves the story forward instead of just backtracking! But still I'm excited to read it.