Mini-Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

I'm running on two hours of sleep, so forgive me any errors in the review.

All Our Yesterdays
Cristin Terrill

Disney Hyperion
I received an ARC of this book through the Around the World ARC tour
Releases September 3, 2013
368 pages
YA / Time Travel / SciFi

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"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.

Time travel is a tricky thing. With a wrong word, your story goes from being a fun romp through time and space to a block of Swiss cheese with your characters falling into plot hole after plot hole. When time travel is done well, I’m always very impressed and Terrill put in rules to her time travel universe that helped avoid the usual pitfalls of time travel YA stories. In short All Our Yesterdays is awesome.

It opens up in the middle of the story where everything is a bit of a jumble, leaving me feeling as though I had a lot of catch up to do. Which was true because M and Finn, locked in some future jail cell, are about to go back in time four years to follow the events that could potentially lead them to being locked up by the devious and maniacal “doctor” who so desperately wants the information M stole from him. It honestly left me a little anxious, not knowing who any of these people were, what was going on and why it was happening. It was the perfect mood to start this moody and bittersweet story about changing the past to make a better future.

I really don’t want to give plot spoilers away, so it’s difficult to write about this book. Terrill creates a tough female character who has obvious weaknesses, but admits to them and tries to compensate. She isn’t flighty and even his naïve female character has a backbone even if it does turn into jelly when the guy she’s been in love with for years give her the indication that he may feel the same. The suspense builds up suddenly and the stress of thinking I knew where the story as going when really I had no clue left me with the same feeling of anxiety and pressure that M and Finn carried around with them.

The ending is very bittersweet. It’s not wrapped up pretty and not everyone gets a happy ending. The potential paradoxes are explained away through a law in Terrill’s universe that just seemed to work within the world she created rather than feeling like a convenient out of a complicated plot situation. All Our Yesterdays was a genuine surprise and I have no idea how it’s the beginning of a series because it is wrapped up by the end. Then again, it is about time travel and a million potential parallel universe could have split due to the one adventure of M and Finn seen in this particular story.

So I’m ending my incredibly vague review by saying I highly recommend All Our Yesterdays. Go in blind and enjoy the twisty story and puzzles that come together in front of you. There is so much good in this book though I wish it were a stand along. I can’t see the concept holding out for a series without the surprises and suspense of this first volume disappearing. Despite that, I really think All Our Yesterdays is a strong contender for my top 10 favorite reads of 2013.

 

I received a copy of this book through the Around the World ARC tour in return for an honest review.