Published by Disney Hyperion on September 3, 2013
Genres: Science-fiction, Young Adult
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"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.
\r\nOnly 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.\r\n\r\nMarina 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.\r\n\r\nAll Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill grabbed my attention from the first page. The first sentence, even: “I stare at the drain in the center of the concrete floor. It was the first thing I saw when they locked me in this cell, and I’ve barely looked away since”. That painted quite a picture!
The prisoner is Em, who is being held along with her friend Finn in a secret military base where a time machine (named Cassandra, of all things!) is housed. They are both tortured by an evil man that Em refers to as “the doctor”, but one day she discovers that she has already escaped several times and made multiple trips back in time. She finds a list written in her own handwriting, outlining everything that she has tried in an effort to change the past, thereby changing the future. All of her previous attempts have failed, and her final instructions say “You have to kill him”. She and Finn have to escape one last time in order to travel back in time and make things right.
This book is written from two different points of view – Em, who has been through hell and is tough and hardened; and Marina, who is naive and spoiled, but would do anything for James, the boy that she loves. In addition to the time-traveling, there is some political intrigue, a lot of action, and of course, the obligatory love triangle. I was immediately drawn into the story, and it was a very quick read. However, I felt like there could have been SO much more – I almost felt like it was too short. I would have loved more details on the events that were going on in the world as a result of the time machine. At times I also felt like the book was written for a slightly younger audience than a lot of YA books. The relationships were all very chaste – too much so for their situations and ages (not that I was looking for a hot hookup or anything, but it just didn’t feel real…). There were a couple of twists, but unfortunately I saw them all coming a mile away, and I thought the ending was a bit predictable.
I was also surprised to read that this book was the first in a series. I felt like the ending wrapped up the story, so I’m not sure where they would go in the sequel. But will I read it? Definitely! Even though I wasn’t left with that “I’ve GOT to have more” feeling, this premise is interesting enough that I want to see what happens next, and hopefully there will be some surprises waiting in the next installment.