All Our Yesterdays #1
Young Adult/Time Travel
THE STORY (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.
A heart-pounding, gut-twisting story, All Our Yesterdays challenges everything we think we know about ourselves; asking us to answer uncomfortable questions as we slide into the shoes of Marina and Em, and causing us to flinch when we find our responses are not as easy to come by as we might have thought before reading. We are more woefully torn as the story continues, Em and Finn’s purpose in traveling back in time four years seeming so simple – the path they must take clear and absolutely necessary given what we know of their current predicament – but with each chapter those previously clear waters muddy, and time plays a cruel game in softening hearts that had been brutally hardened by pain and betrayal.
Time travel stories can sometimes be infinitely trying, the complications of changing various people’s timelines and the resulting effects those changes have on the future causing headaches the more we try to sort everything out, but Ms. Terrill introduces a fascinating element to her time-space continuum: sentience. Time in this world is an almost living, breathing thing, able to remedy certain actions and untangle threads as Em and Finn fight a battle to change their bleak futures again and again, adding a sense of fluidity when our minds might otherwise demand more rigid parameters. As a result, when we come across small things that would normally cause us to question or wonder at the how or why of the situation, we have our answer already, knowing that time has sorted itself out without Ms. Terrill needing to launch into a lengthy and likely confusing explanation.
Without going into specifics on the characters as to do so would be to spoil the beautifully simple yet painfully complex relationship between Em, Marina, Finn and James, suffice to say that even though we spend our time in this world through the first person perspectives of Em and Marina, all four characters are wonderfully vibrant and alive, their personalities engaging and sometimes haunting, and the changes we see in them from beginning to end are facets of this story that linger for days after reading. Ms. Terrill expertly brings all four of them full circle by the time we reach the last page, our hearts sporting many a bruise and shallow cut but still beating strongly as the last thread is tied off – one all the way from the beginning that raised a red flag but was promptly forgotten as the story’s intensity picked up – leaving us with a blissful warmth even as we grieve over some of the events that led us to our current happy glow.
Overall, All Our Yesterdays is a thrilling read from page one, taking us on a harrowing dance through time to leave us winded, a little battered, but replete with hope for the future even after all that’s happened, and I simply can’t wait to see what Ms. Terrill’s imagination will delight us with next.
This book was given to me at BEA by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.