5 Star Review – All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

December 31, 2013 Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Series: All Our Yesterdays #1
Author: Cristin Terrill
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Pages: 368, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 4.09 stars
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-13 (Sex is vaguely implied, but not shown, Some violence)

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. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

 

I chose All Our Yesterdays in a giveaway that I won a month or so ago and I had to sneak it in to 2013 because I’d heard so many amazing things about it.  I’m so glad I did – it’s definitely one of the best books I read all year!

The book follows Em and Finn as they travel back in time to try and stop the creation of the very time machine that they just used – and to stop the collapse of the world that has occurred because of it.  They travel back four years, and we see the past both through Em’s eyes and through Marina’s (Marina is Em in the past).

The negatives:
  • Time travel can sometimes be confusing!  This is a general issue with books that involve time travel – the paradoxes, etc. can give you a headache – but I think that Terrill did a better job than most at making it all make sense.  I was still a tiny bit confused about how the ending worked out the way it did (though I was able to come up with some ideas), but overall, I actually think I understood this one!!
  • Slightly vague world building in some parts.  I was sometimes a bit unclear about what exactly Em and Finn were saving the world from.  I got that because of the time machine the US had turned into a military state, some people had been killed and that someone had done something to the European money system, but I never quite got a clear picture of it all.  This might have just been me though!
What I LOVED:
  • Em and Marina’s perspectives.  I think the thing that I loved most about this book was the juxtaposition of Em and Marina’s perspectives.  They saw things very differently.  Marina’s view of the world was so incredibly naive – she had no idea about the hardships and betrayals that were coming her way (if Em didn’t manage to change her future).  All she knew was that she was utterly and hopelessly in love with a boy who might or might not have loved her back – and that she wanted to help him through an incredibly difficult time in his life.  Marina was a bit spoiled and self-absorbed, and it was really interesting to see how her character had developed in the four years that it took before she became Em.  Em, on the other hand, knew how bleak the world would get and she knew exactly how it got that way.  She knew that huge sacrifices would have to be made in order to save the world from the future she’d lived – and she worried constantly about the impact that her sacrifices would make on the younger Marina.  Seeing the world from both of these perspectives made the book so exciting – you just wanted to shake Marina and tell her that things were not as they seemed!!
  • Self-sacrifice.  A major theme in this book was self-sacrifice.  Em and Finn go back to the past knowing that, if they succeed at their task, they will wipe themselves out of existence.  Granted, they’ve lived a pretty miserable existence for the past few years, but you would think that self-preservation would come into play.  But Em and Finn both agree that they have to save the world – and the past versions of themselves – from the fate they have endured at any cost.  And the cost is substantial – not only will they be wiped out of existence, but they have to do something that tears them apart on an emotional level.  The sacrifice that they make is HUGE.  Plus, there is at least one other MAJOR sacrifice that takes place in the book – can’t spoil it though!!
  • Finn.  Once again, I loved seeing both the past and future versions of Finn.  He’s got to be one of my new favorite book boyfriends – his humble upbringing, the way that he took care of his mom and his future self’s love for Em combined with his snarky attitude to make pretty much the perfect boy in my opinion.  LOVE him!!  I was definitely Team Finn all the way (though I don’t see how you could be anything else, really – any Team James fans out there?)
If you haven’t read All Our Yesterdays, go out and get it!  Really – now.  You’ll be glad you did!   5/5 stars.

 

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