“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.
First sentence: “I stare at the drain in the center of the concrete floor.”
It is hard for me to put into words or gifs how much I adore this book. This book pulled me from the depths of my reading funk, and that is makes it more frickin’ awesome.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ ALL OUR YESTERDAYS
- Time travel is awesome!
If you are like me and find time travel confusing sometimes (or you get easily confused in general), rest assured! Time travel in All Our Yesterdays is presented in a way that totally makes sense. I only found myself scratching my head once or twice (concerning how the whole fixed point in a paradox would work), but I understood what it meant after a second careful reread. And the characters only do it once.
I love that there are actual side effects when the characters time travel. They experience pain when they time travel (and it’s something that is likely to happen if time travel actually exists). They also experience sporadic flashbacks that get longer and longer as they stay in the past, which results in them blacking out, shaking, and flickering. I don’t usually see that in time traveling books, so I thought that was pretty awesome.
The key issue that Em and everybody in the book neglects to acknowledge is that even with the smallest changes in the past, it can change the future drastically and that leads to multiple universes opening up to accommodate for different outcomes of the character’s situation. I hope that’s what the second book will be about – another universe that didn’t go exactly how the first book went.
- Badass Characters
LET ME CLUTCH EVERYBODY TO MY CHEST (SPECIFICALLY EM & FINN)! They are everything to me!
She is fucking badass and amazing. She has the perfect amount of toughness and softness. She has her weaknesses, but she is relentless. She is doing everything, not for some boy, but because she wants to protect Marina from suffering like she did. It sucks she has to kill a boy who she loved, but she knows it’s the only way. Her number one priority is [spoiler]Marina[/spoiler]. I love seeing how much [spoiler]Em changed from that spoiled brat to the hardened individual she is[/spoiler].
I like her devotion to James. It’s obvious she really loves him and would do anything for him. However, that devotion to James and her snobbiness can be a bit annoying. I shook my head at her sometimes because she thinks she knows what’s best for James, but she doesn’t. I like seeing how different she and Em is, especially how she is devoted to a boy whereas Em is not.
Oh Finn. This guy is somebody you need in your life. He is surprisingly sweet and cute. I love that he constantly surprises everyone with his intelligence and his history. He is more than a goofy guy who hangs around James and annoys Marina. Every time he was around in the book, I found myself smiling because I didn’t expect him to be so cute. (Like asking to hold you-know-who’s hand? SQUEAL. And when he asked her if she was in love with James? I’m like he’s in love with her. AHHHH. THEY BELONG TOGETHER.) TOTAL SWOON WORTHY.
There is so much more to this guy than meets the eye. He has a one-track mind, which is on his work. If you read the book, then you know what happens to James. I’m surprisingly not angry at his character for being such an ass. Cristin Terrill writes him in a way that makes me sympathize. He’s a vulnerable and insecure kid. He is so caught up in his work to help the world that he can’t see that what he’s doing is wrong. Seeing him realize what will happen broke my heart. Poor James!
I don’t think I hated anybody in this book. Sure, some characters got annoying, but not to the point I raged over it. That is a wonderful accomplishment. :) (Though, I would’ve like a better connection with them all. I still felt like I didn’t quite know them.)
- The many plot twists!
All Our Yesterdays had me on the edge of my seat! There were so many twists, but not too much that it felt forced or made the story overwhelming. I couldn’t read the book fast enough. IT WAS SO GOOD. I HAD to know what happened. “Oh shiiiiittt” was a constant phrase that emerged from my mouth. Yeah, some of the twists were obvious (and probably on purpose), but I was being unobservant because I was enthralled by the story. You should’ve seen my eyes bug out! I felt silly for not realizing the twists early on, but hey! It made for an exciting story. Ha.
- The messages about time travel + human beings
This book made me think a lot about power struggle, the consequences of time travel and how it’s completely relatable to present day situations. Sure, time travel is a great thing and you can do a lot of good with it, but like what happens in the book, it’s not all amazing things. There will be people who will abuse it. And despite one of the characters wanting to do good, he does bad for the sake of the good. He becomes consumed by power to rectify the world according to his standards, and that isn’t really thinking of what’s best for the world. One guy shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Also, changing the future is extremely tricky because the characters don’t know if it’s for the better or for the worst. They’re essentially killing innocent people. It’s a struggle to really know if you’re doing good or not. Maybe time traveling isn’t meant to exist because of these things. (My thoughts are all over the place, but I’m completely blown away by how it forced me to think about whether time travel should exist. Other time travel books or movie never make me think of that, and that’s awesome.)
Thank you, Cristin Terrill for writing this frickin’ amazing book! And to fellow bookworms, go read All Our Yesterdays and tell me about your timey-wimey theories. ;D