All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Disney Hyperion, 368 Pages
Expected US Release Date: September 3, 2013
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Stand Alone Challenge 2013
"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.
"Sometimes you have to hurt someone for the greater good."
So if you've read my blog for awhile, you know how I feel about time travel. It's one of my major turn-offs in books (and movies, and TV shows...) - I don't do it. I just have so many issues with the execution and the technicalities and semantics and just...no. It's one of my instant-nos. So why did I give All Our Yesterdays a try? Mainly, all the buzz surrounding it. I kept hearing so many great things, and I love the opening to that summary - it makes it so hard to resist! Plus there's some vaguely dystopian elements hinted at - or at least war torn, which makes it all the more intriguing. I've also got a weirdly soft spot for cyclical things. I don't know what it is, and I'm fully aware how much it undermines my time travel aversion.
And now that I've read All Our Yesterdays...I won't be clamboring for every time travel book ever made, but I can damn sure shout from the rooftops that all the hype? SO WORTH IT. Totally deserving, and potentially even more.
You know what also got me? The dual narratives (ish...well, you know if you've read it). I am a sucker for dual narratives, and both of these were freakin' fantastic. Especially once you learn how Em and Marina are tied together and how they interconnect. It was fascinating once you knew, and you started to be like "Oh no...what's that going to mean for the other?!" Each narrative was also pretty distinctive, which I always appreciate. Em is older than Marina, in both age and experience, and it was pretty easy to tell from the writing. Cristin Terrill did a great job reflecting each person's age in the writing.
The story itself is what absolutely sold me on this. No, I still don't like time travel - there will always be holes and plotlines that bother me or don't make sense - but the rest of this book is filled to the brim with action, emotion, feelings, and little lines that just make your heart jump. There's real sadness, real conflict, real complexities and layers to this story, and it made me fly through the pages trying to figure it all out as fast as I could. The relationships were riveting too, especially Marina and James friendship - it's so strong but so brittle all at the same time, and your eyes just get wider and wider the more cracks you see.
I feel like my review will get lost among the masses they demand you READ THIS ASAP, but it's true: you need to read this.
Last thing? Kind of love that this is a stand-alone (it is, right?). Sure, there's real potential for a continuation, or at least companion novels as we explore Em's cyclical life/lives - but I kind of like knowing that this was it. There's a finality that really completed it.