Aug 21, 2013
A brilliantly brain-warping thriller and a love story that leaps back and forth in time – All Our Yesterdays is an amazing first novel, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games.
Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet.
Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture – being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future…
At the young age of 20, Em is a girl who could be considered well beyond her years, just by her experiences alone. After having been on the run and hiding for months, Em is caught and kept in a prison cell. She is abused, tortured, and battered by The Doctor and his companions, for a document that only she has access to. On a seemingly normal day, Em finds a drain in the room has been altered, and in it she finds instructions written specifically for her, by other versions of herself. Em and Finn, her prisonmate and emotional companion, must go back in time in order to alter history – and their own lives in the process.
Marina is 16. Popular, beautiful, and hopelessly in love with her long-time best friend and neighbour, James Shaw. James is a prodigy – skipping grades in elementary school, graduating high school early, working on his PhD at John Hopkins and being mentored by significant physicist at the tender age of 18. Not to mention, James is breathtakingly beautiful. When Marina, James, and his only other friend Finn attend a gala in support of James’ older brother, one moment changes their lives forever. And when James’ own life is threatened and the truth is discovered, Marina must decide what exactly she is willing to do for the boy that she loves.
All Our Yesterdays was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. And Cristin Terrill did not disappoint me in the slightest. Only a few pages into the first chapter, I was already intrigued and a few chapters later I was hooked. I adored Em, such a brave girl and despite the difficulties that she has been through, she held onto her humanity and her unintentional act of seeing good in other people. It was interesting to see Em and Marina’s point of views, how different they were and it only goes to show how significant a few years can be. The relationship between the trio of Marina, James, and Finn is a reminder of the love and loyalty and pure acceptance that accompanies real friendship. I have always struggled with the idea of acting in mind of the greater good, and All Our Yesterdays definitely made me question that as each of the characters grew close to my heart and lead me to struggle with finishing the book just because I didn’t want it to end.
I am quite wary of time travel. Or, more specifically, how authors choose to handle and describe the scientific aspects of it. And although there were some parts of Terrill’s time travel that I didn’t understand, I did get the main aspects of it and it was very well done and realistic. The story does conclude in a way that I had to rethink the events and the aspects of time travel that unraveled as the story went on. I found just how significant reading in the point of view of an uninformed narrator can be. And I definitely did not see some of the plot twists that Cristin Terrill threw at her readers in the final quarter of the novel.
Terrill’s overall writing is very, very, very good. I cannot believe that this is her debut novel just because of how breathtaking it was. All Our Yesterdays highlights the importance of choice, selflessness, and humanity. It reminds its readers of the loyalty that binds two people in a friendship, and in love as well. I will definitely be looking towards Terrill’s future works, and I wholeheartedly recommend All Our Yesterdays to fans of science fiction and dystopian stories and readers of young adult books.