Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future. From Goodreads
I am at a loss at how I am supposed to start this review in any way other than by saying:
Em is locked in a military cell. She is tortured under the orders of the doctor for information he desperately wants. All she has for company is the voice of the boy in the cell next door, Finn. Then she finds a letter in the drain of her cell. From her future self. To change her present, she must travel back in time and kill the boy she once loved.
Marina is rich and popular, and in love with her gorgeous, nerdy, genius best friend from next door. She is finally working up the courage to do something about it, when disaster strikes. Em and Marina are the same person. When Em tries to change her past, she changes the present for Marina. And then neither know what's going to happen next.
Oh my god! I cannot tell you how much I loved this book! It's exciting, it's fast paced, it's full of action, and so many edge-of-your-seat moments! Such an awesome story!
Marina is in love with her best friend, James, and is blinded a little by this, to the point that she seems almost obsessive. And she is so snarky! Marina is so overly judgemental, and quick to insult Finn, James' other best friend, who she can't stand. She's really not the nicest of people, and I didn't like her that much. Em, on the other hand, is awesome! She's strong, because she's had to be. The world she once knew - our world - is nothing like it once was. The time machine that she uses to travel back to the now has caused massive problems. Those who control time have made changes that have caused the world to become a massively dystopian one - in four short years. Living on the run to keep the knowledge she has out of the wrong hands has forced her to grow up, and the things that used to seem so important no longer matter. She has a job to do, and she has to make sure she succeeds. The world depends on it. The future of her past self depends on it.
As I said, there's plenty of action. It's a race against time; Em must complete her mission before time tries to fix the anomaly of her presence, before the worst - the future - happens. But this is difficult to do when the CIA and god know's how many other government organisations are involved. Or when your younger self is getting in your way, doing what she feels is right, simply because she's yet to see the way things are going to go. I was sitting there thinking, "Come on, come on, come on! Move, damn it!" most of the time. With every obstacle, you are frustrated, with every revelation, you are astounded. With every moment, you're aware of the ticking of the clock in your head. You wouldn't believe how fast my heart was pounding!
There is a romance in All Our Yesterdays. It's almost secondary to the job Em has to complete, but it's important to Em, to who she is. She wouldn't have got nearly as far as she has if it hadn't been for Finn. Yes, Finn. The guy in the cell next door. James' other best friend. Finn is the sweetest, funniest guy, and so incredibly right for Em. He brings out the best in her, and is one of the reasons for her strength. The romance is sweet, and although there are only moments of it in the chaos, it's a light that shines bright, the reason for moving forward.
Despite the fact that Em knows everything that has happened in the last four years, we're not told anything major early on. We don't know why she was locked up. We don't know what the information she has is. We don't know why the world became the way it did. So when things happen in Marina's life - mysteries, developments - we're none the wiser. You try to piece the drips and drabs of the past four years you do get from to what's happening with Marina, and you simply can't. The number of theories I had! I can't even begin to tell you. A few ended up being right, but that's not to say the book is predictable - as I said, I had several theories, and despite the fact I was right, I never expected to be, because woah! They were possibilities I dismissed. And then they happened and my jaw dropped!
All Our Yesterdays is absolutely gripping. It's the kind of book you know you should read slowly over time, because you know you're going to be disappointed when you reach the end and there's no more, yet you can't help but turn the pages as fast as you can! The last few chapters blew me away. I could not believe some of the things that happened. Absolutely fantastic!
All Our Yesterdays is undeniably one of the best novels I've ever read. If you read only one book this year, it has to be this! If this stunning debut is anything to go by, extraordinary things can be expected from Cristin Terrill in future.
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the review copy.
Published: 1st August 2013
Cristin Terrill's Website