All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Release: September 3rd 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Time Travel, YA
"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.
“It's a silence I know. The kind that's actually a sound so loud, your brain doesn't know how to interpret it at first.”
This is going to be a hard review to write, because it's difficult to keep this spoiler-free but at the same time explain how awesome this book is. There are some things you find out pretty early on, but are still crucial to keep secret to uphold the engaging tension of the beginning. But I'll try.
I'll just say that this is extremely intense and urgent and I was blown away by how much really happened during these 360 pages. You uncover something, and then you're like "Aaahhh... but, wait... we still don't know that, though." and it keeps you on the edge of your seat, dying to know all the answers. I loved it.
And the characters were pretty awesome, too. I especially liked Em, because that girl was fierce and badass as hell, and I think a lot of heroines can learn a lesson or two from her, because she is kickass and confident, without being arrogant and she learned how to love and appreciate herself. She does all of this out of love for herself and I just... I loved her. I was a little mad at her because she fucks up four or five times, but I think the way it did end in the beginning was truly the only ending there ever was and one I didn't even consider until it happened, but of which I approve 100%. The way Terrill did it was simply brilliant, and I don't think there could have been a better solution. That's how it had to end, so I'm kind of glad that Em messed up so many times and kind of agree with Finn that it's just a sign of her strong personality.
Besides Em, I did like all the other characters as well. Marina's character development was quite astounding, and it was gradually. I couldn't pinpoint it down to one specific moment where I could say, "Yes, that's when she started to change." I liked how she crept up on me. And then there's Finn, who basically stole my heart right from the start, while I also loved James, too though. Both were very fleshed out and two polar opposites, and I think that's what made me like both of them so much instead of just liking one of them. Beautifully done, Terrill.
And the romance was also handled skillfully. And just like I liked both guys, I also loved both romances. James/Marina had something, and I think more than anything, it was the fact that it was that childhood friends turned lovers done right this time that made me love them so much. For so long, I have longed for a romance where the two have known each other since childhood and slowly started having feelings for each other, but everything that ever came close to it, like Jay and Violet in The Body Finder, just wasn't executed nicely or to my tastes. This was, though. I especially liked that we didn't know if James really did feel the same way about Marina, because it made it seem more realistic this way. Crushes don't always tend to love you back so that your relationship ends in a fairytale romance.
I think I did like Finn/Em a little better, though, because I shipped them since page 21 with this quote:
“I pull away and put my hands on his cheeks, examining his face. (...) "You need a haircut."
He rubs the side of his thumb over my cheekbone. "You're beautiful."”
D'AWWW. I just... they were perfect for each other, soulmates. Nuff said.
All in all, the premise is really interesting and I think the less you know the better this novel is going to be. For my part, I simply bought this on a whim because a lot of my friends said it was good, and I didn't even bother reading more than two sentences of the synopsis, so all I knew going in was that it was about time travel. This way, everything was way more surprising and interesting, thus making the reading experience that much greater.
I can definitely recommend All Our Yesterdays, a very nice, intriguing setting with a little sprinkle of dystopia, nice characters, a big adventure journey and lovely and no sappy romance — if that's what you like, definitely go for it!