Published by Disney Hyperion on September 3rd, 2013
Genres: science fiction, young adult
Buy on Amazon
What would you change?
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 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, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. 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. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
Sometimes books can become a victim of the hype machine. Pretty much everyone that you know loves it, so when you begin to read it, you expect it to blow you away. Listen. I know it is unfair to heap this kind of expectation on any book, but sometimes it is inevitable and impossible to prevent. And that is what happened in the case of All Our Yesterdays. That is what I think, anyway. Do I think I would have enjoyed it more and possibly rated it higher had my expectations not been blown sky high by other book bloggers? Possibly. But there really is no way to know this, so I have to make do with what I do know.
So what do I know? Well, I know I liked the writing. It was very easy for me to read and follow along with, and yet still incredibly poetic and artistic, which I loved. It’s the kind of writing that resonates with me the most, and I also find it incredibly memorable. Because months from now, when I remember absolutely nothing about this book, I will remember that Cristin Terrill is an author I would read again based on writing alone.
I also really liked the characters. Some readers had an issue with Marina, which I understand, but I did not have an issue because I knew she was a necessary evil to present a believable character arc. Characters need to adapt and change, and since we are reading the book from two different periods in time, we need to actually SEE how the characters have changed. And I was impressed with how they did develop and adapt to their situations.
And now here is where I start to get negative. Though I liked the characters, I did not care about them. I did not care about what happened, and I never really felt emotionally connected to the plot. A book can be technically impressive (like this one was) and still do nothing for the reader’s feelings. And it makes me sad. I wanted to be one of the bloggers that adored this and shouted from the rooftops.
But the thing that annoyed me the most and let me down more than anything was the ending. Up until that point, I think I would have given this 4 stars instead of 3. But I just didn’t get it! To me, it wrapped up too easily. The science didn’t seem logical to me. It might follow all the rules of time travel out there (though I don’t know if it does), but it didn’t work for me personally. And every time the science was explained, I just kind of wasn’t buying it. And without revealing spoilers, a big twist that happens to a character turns out to not be a twist at all, and I am not a fan of bad things happening to characters and then them not being so bad after all. It feels like a cop out. I want brutal endings most of the time. And if you are going to make it brutal, keep it that way.
And then, what I thought was a standalone is not, and that is incredibly frustrating when you think you are going to get all the answers and find out that, no, you have to read an entire other book to get the full story. I’m not gonna do that because I didn’t like it enough to keep on. I don’t know if this was announced from the beginning and just not publicized enough, but if so, it should have been. Readers have a right to know this stuff. I am already partway through too many series and I don’t need another one–especially not one I wasn’t planning for. So to say I am disappointed is an understatement.
But hey, I know I am in the minority on this book. So before you decide fully based on my opinion alone, maybe you should read one (or more) of the positive reviews. And I guess in some ways I do recommend this book to readers. It was decent, I was just disappointed overall, and it ended up being average for me. The beginning of All Our Yesterdays really hooked me and I was sold, but about one third of the way through the book I began to lose interest, and it just went downhill from there. Maybe that won’t happen to you. I hope not.