Just Finished Reading … All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays
by Cristin Terrill
To be published on September 3, 2013
By Disney-Hyperion

Source: Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for approving me for this title on NetGalley.

Connect with the author: website | Twitter.

Summary from Goodreads: "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. 
My take: I've admitted before that time travel books and I are not always BFFs. I'm totally on board for a little suspension of disbelief*, but I don't have a lot of patience with a) narratives that constantly jerk me around in time and space and b) being confused.**

But I loved All Our Yesterdays. It had one of those winning premises -- simple to grasp, yet filled with conflict, emotion, and fascinating philosophical questions. The story was also ingeniously plotted -- one of those books you can hardly put down.

Em and Finn are prisoners in adjacent cells, tormented and tortured daily by captors who want to know the locations of secret documents. Marina is a carefree teenager in Washington DC, a girl in love with her next-door-neighbor. Em and Finn need to go back in time to try to stop a terrible chain of events that plunged the world into chaos. Marina is shocked and dismayed when a madman suddenly targets her neighbor's family.

After reading only a chapter or two, it became very clear to me exactly what was going to happen in this book, and that only made the story more exciting. There was just enough science for me -- a brief explanation of how time travel paradoxes are resolved*** -- but not so much that the focus was taken off the characters and their conflicts.

The moral dilemmas that these characters faced were really set this book apart for me. Action scenes without any kind of emotion behind them are exciting in the moment, but ultimately empty. All Our Yesterdays had action plus wrenching emotion, placing characters in conflict and raising interesting questions: could you take a human life if you knew that it would make the world a far better place? How far would you go to save someone you love? 

Whether or not you're a fan of time travel books, I think you'll appreciate the very clever plotting and absolutely excruciating tension that this book sets up. I highly recommend it!

*There was a slight amount of suspension of disbelief required based on the age of the characters, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were aged to adulthood if this book makes it to the big screen.

**If time travel ever becomes possible, then go ahead and explain it to me, but until then, keep it simple. I'm with Bruce Willis: I don't want to waste time talking about it and making diagrams with straws.

*** Time Travel Paradoxes apparently have something to do with the fact that you can't go back in time and kill your own grandfather and stuff like that. But why would you want to do that?


  1. I am so glad you enjoyed! I thought the time travel was done SO well. You had to pay attention but it was not overwhelming or anything. I loved that Em faced hard decisions, it seemed to realistic and I agree the action scenes were great!

    Ashley@The Quiet Concert

  2. Whoohoo, so glad you liked this one too! I thought the time travel was explained just enough to seem plausible but I wasn't overwhelmed which says a lot since time travel makes my head hurt. I think the 10th Doctor explains it best..."Wibbly wobbly, timey, wimey...stuff"

    My Friends Are Fiction

  3. Thanks Jen-I don't really have time to read this but when you added your voice to the chorus of praise, I know I'm going to have to read it sooner rather than later (my September is pretty much all booked up but if I can get it from the library, I'll squeeze it in somehow!)

  4. When I saw that your review is up I got excited! I'm waiting for this book to come out so I can read it. I have heard great things about it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. One of my friends read this and LOVED it!!! She sent me her copy and I've been dying to tear into. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too! :) Can't wait!

  6. So since I'm planning on reading this soon, I skipped your review, except for the words "Bu I loved..." and I read your little asterick points. I definitely also agree with Bruce. :) I have got to read this soon and get a review up and then come back and read all of this! So glad you liked it!

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

  7. Ooooh. I think the launch party for this is happening near me soon and I'm going to try to go.

  8. Good review! I like a good time travel book, where the concept is used well, but get frustrated with bad ones. Always good to know which is which.

  9. I want this books so badly! The characters seem great, as does the premise. I haven't seen a negative review yet, although I am trying to temper expectations. Sounds so good.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  10. This book exceeded my expectations. I had a hard time wrapping my head around some of the paradoxes and nuances of time travel but I was ultimately there for the characters.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. It was kind of confusing for me in the beginning, but then everything became clear!! and thank God there wasn't much detail about the science of time travel *phew* Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  13. I cannot wait to read this book! It means a lot that you loved it so much. I like a good moral debate, and that has me even more excited, along with the promise of clever plotting. I'm also glad that you were able to grasp the time travel concepts easily, which is also important.

  14. I was so glad the science explanation of time travel was so toned down. My simple mind can't take it. lol I'm glad you liked this too!

  15. Ah, the Looper reference. Loved that movie! Of course, I'll always have a soft spot for JGL. :) I am also glad that so many people have been on board with how time travel was explained in this book. Most of the time, it makes me feel like a moron, but with this one, I felt like I just *got* it. :P


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will share your thoughts on this post!