Thursday, September 26, 2013

So Hard to Say Goodbye, To Yesterday

Published:  September 3rd, 2013
All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1)
By: Cristin Terrill
ISBN-13:  9781423176374

"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.


     Marina is experiencing the joy and heartache of first love, possibly unrequited.  Four years later, Em is imprisoned and tortured endlessly to give up her secrets, with only one true recourse - to go back in time and kill the man responsible for the destruction of the world.  She must kill him before he creates the time machine, as it causes the world to become unrecognizable and for him to become evil/power mad.  The only problem is that Em has a vested interest in making Marina's life one free of pain and suffering.  Of course the guy she needs to kill just happens to be Marina's next door neighbor, best friend and first love, James (whom they now call the Doctor).  With the help of her friend Finn who is in the cell next to hers, Em escapes and makes it back in time, four days before the turning point that will make it impossible to succeed.  But can she manage to go through with it, even with her and Finn's own lives on the line, when it could destroy things in an entirely different way?
     OH. MY. GOSH.  This book went beyond all expectations!  It's the time travel/alternate reality fiction that I've been waiting on all this time, while I've been drowning in a sea of mediocre books!!!  But for me as much as I enjoyed the theory behind this particular sort of time travel (I really prefer my principles a bit vague and the book to be not very scientifically oriented, to be honest about it) and the intricacies of the plot, for me it was all about the characters.  Anyone who reads reviews on this site knows that I am nuts about character development and detail.  For me it's one of the main focuses when I read.  If the characters are truly awesome and the plot only good, I can get past that and end up loving the book anyways.  The other way around, it's not as easy for me as a reader.  This book definitely had what I've been wanting in terms of characters to fall in love with.
     Ms. Terrill writes this in alternating points of view between Marina four years earlier, and Em who is living in the aftermath of Marina's reality and decisions.  That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to give away any really major spoilers, but the dynamic between the two and the way their lives affect one another absolutely crushed me.  Em wants nothing more than to protect Marina and shelter her, the way she speaks of her almost sounding like a Mother about a daughter at times.  It makes the revelations about their connection to each other all the more crushing and chilling when it comes.  Marina's relationships with James and her new friend Finn are especially fraught, because she's unsure of how to behave or feel when James' older brother is shot and everything begins to crumble.  In the beginning Marina is kind of spoiled, shallow and has her head in the sand quite a bit.  Throughout the novel we get to see her evolve and grow as a person, learning her own heart and mind better than she ever has.  Especially her bickering/tension filled relations with Finn, who has a life situation completely opposite of her own, and is a better friend that Marina ever could have known. 
     The development of Em is different, in that for her developing means coming to terms with her past and what it has formed her into.  Em is trying to hide from herself, the decisions she's made and even the life she's living.  By the end she has come to love herself, which lets her open herself to loving Finn as well.  James and Finn are two different sides of the same coin.  They are best friends, both inherently good but making plenty of mistakes in their lives.  Mainly what separates them is James' downwards spiral into a quest for power, a rationale of "for the greater good" and a blindness to the evil he's inflicting.  James becomes unable to see the truth between right and wrong and teaches everyone involved in his past AND future that not everyone can be saved, with some second chances not being for the best.  I did like the political aspect woven into the narrative, with the assassination of James' brother Nate serving as the (apparent) catalyst for everything that happens in regards to the time machine.  It really is a scary thought to think of what a major government could do with a time machine.  I also enjoyed the reference to Greek mythology (or so I'm assuming) in the name of the time machine.  
     The plot was well-paced, with the action never becoming too much or too little as the book got deeper into the narrative.  There were a couple of side characters I think weren't very well fleshed out (such as Marina's housekeeper/surrogate Mother and her actual parents), but as this is the first in a series maybe more will be expanded on later on.  Overall, one of my absolute favorite books of the year and I definitely want my own copy for keeps!  It was a beautifully written, very thought-provoking novel and I highly recommend it even to those who are wary of time-travel infused narratives.

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published September 3rd, 2013.**


  1. Your titles invariably put songs in my head. Thanks for the Boyz II Men!

  2. Sounds Great! I've added it to my list. Thanks.


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