All Our Yesterdays
by Cristin Terrill
Published: 03 September 2013
Disney Hyperion, Hardcover, 360 pages
What would you change?
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 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, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. 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. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
After reading All Our Yesterdays, I feel horrible for ever having doubted its brilliance. At the beginning, I was a little worried I would not like it since I’ve read mixed reviews and JZ sort of DNF it though it was due to her being in a reading slump at that time. Moreover, I was slightly confused at first about the world as it was in All Our Yesterdays (since more than one version of the world existed in it) but that was to be expected because time-traveling’s a tricky genre to write about. I did get over my initial confusion pretty quickly though.
Following the somewhat rough start I had with the novel, I rapidly discovered that it was actually insanely thrilling. The pages seemed to turn of their own accord and before I knew it, I was halfway through the book within a day—practically impossible for a snail-paced reader like me! Honestly, I think All Our Yesterdays is the Paragon of an unputdownable book.
I shall be truthful and admit that I strongly disliked Marina in the first few chapters. However, Terrill masterfully showed the reasons why Marina was the spoiled and shallow girl she was at first. As for Em, I loved her from the very start. Incredibly brave, resourceful and smart, she’s the sort of girl I would want to be if I was stuck in her terrible situation.
Although the synopsis does not show a clear connection between Em & Marina—and their connection was still pretty shady in the first few chapters—bare with it because when you witness how their paths converge, you would be mind-blown. At least, I was. Clutching my head and rolling around the floor like a rotten potato making dying dinosaur noises. I also sent many messages that questioned my sanity to Richa @ City of Books as she was the only person I knew who’ve read All Our Yesterdays and who I thought would understand my bookish rambling. I’m really grateful to her for putting up with my nonsensical babbling & overusage of caps lock.
Moving on to the plot, I really can’t put into words how intricate and exciting it was. Fueled with action, heartfelt relationships between characters and mystery, its really no surprise I could not stop flipping the pages. You simply need too find out what happened next to Marina, James, Em and Finn! All Our Yesterdays is worth more than anyone’s social life. Yes, that makes me sound like a deranged & antisocial booknerd but when you encounter a book that good…
Towards the end of the novel, I was still hovering around a 4 or 4.5 stars rating but after that epic ending, giving All Our Yesterdays anything less than 5 stars would be impossible for me. Perfectly bittersweet and intense, it definitely could’ve (or maybe even should’ve) been a standalone. Yet, a sequel has been announced to be released some time this year revolving around the same characters. I’m conflicted about that because I felt All Our Yesterdays ended perfectly and it would be hard for the sequel to outshine this marvelous debut but of course, it would be nice to follow these lovely characters on more adventures.
In conclusion, go read All Our Yesterdays now or you’re truly missing out in your fictional life. Obviously, I would recommend this incredible novel to everyone unless you are intent on not living a voracious imaginary existence.
Update: The mentioned sequel has been cancelled as of August/September 2014, according to the author.