Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays
by Cristin Terrill
Published: 03 September 2013
Disney Hyperion, Hardcover, 360 pages
Source: Library

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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.

Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point

Pivot Point
by Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Published: 12 February 2013
HarperTeen, Hardcover, 343 pages
Source: Library

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Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Rating: ★★★★

Ever since reading the synopsis of Pivot Point, I just knew I would probably end up loving it. The plot was completely original and it seemed like quite a cute & fun read, something I really needed after reading a ton of intense books that threw me into a reading slump.

The first thing that captured me in Pivot Point was (no surprise here) Addie’s gift to explore two futures when faced with a choice. That would be a lovely gift! was what I thought at first because who wouldn’t like to know the best of choices all the time? Well, color me wrong. During a Search, Addie basically lives out both possible futures & it would both feel completely real to her. So imagine experiencing the nastier choice and having to remember it too, pretty unpleasant, I would say.

Although Addie was a decent protagonist, she felt a little flat. The other characters were all so vibrant that Addie sort of blended into the background a little. However, I did love seeing both the similarities and differences between the Addie who stayed in the Compound and the Addie who left. Kasie West did a spectacular job at showing how the events surrounding the protagonist in each future would change her yet staying true to her character.

As for the romance, it sure does sound a lot like a love triangle but how could it be when technically, Addie only has a relationship with one guy in each future? Moreover, she did make a clear choice in the end between the guys. I was rooting for Trevor all the way, if any of you wanted to know. I felt exactly the way Addie did about Duke whenever she was upset with him. Duke wasn’t necessarily awful but guess I’m simply not a fan of cocky & popular quarterbacks.

Anyway, My favorite aspect of Pivot Point would be how both prospects were told side by side. It’s fascinating, how some events were meant to happen in both futures and how nicely the mystery was pieced together in both paths, converging neatly. Having said that, the mystery, despite being structured, was slightly anti-climatic. It might’ve been better if the villain was somehow more evil with a better motive.

All in all, Pivot Point was quite an astounding read with a few minor missteps. The ending was pretty crippling, emotionally. If I had been in Addie’s place, I think I would’ve bawled my eyes out for a whole day before making the decision she made. I would recommend Pivot Point to anyone who loves humor, time travel and endings that gets your heart all twisty.


Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier


Ruby Red
by Kerstin Gier
Precious Stone Trilogy #1
Published: 10 May 2011
Henry Holt, Hardcover, US Edition, 322 pages
Source: Library

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Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries”, and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, watching movies and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcome surprise then when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…

Rating: ★★★★

Why is it that the past few books I’ve read are all really good with the exception of one major problem? Ruby Red was an utterly intriguing read with all the time travel stuff and a hilarious, witty protagonist, but the pacing was horrifying. I mean it. Tear-your-hair-out, yelling at the air horrifying.

The story was set over about 4 days with barely any occurrences. Truth be told, I can only recall two other somewhat major events, excluding the ending. Personally, this felt more like a filler prequel than the debut novel of the trilogy.

However, the characters were wholly fun. Gwen had a much younger and fresher personality as compared to the usual jaded sixteen-year-old protagonist. She was actually adorably normal, not boring normal. I also loved the Montrose family. They kind of remind me of a not so morbid, time traveling version of the Addams Family!

As for the other characters, I might sound paranoid, but I felt like most of them could not be trusted. At least those working at the Temple. Gideon, of course, was an exception. Although his relationship with Gwen seemed a little too fast and cliché, they do make a cute couple! It doesn’t hurt either that I’ve got a good impression of characters named Gideon after encountering Gideon Lightwood in The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

The book didn’t have much surprising twists but the ending… Wow. I never saw it coming. It was shocking enough to convince me that I should read the next installment, Sapphire Blue.

As Ruby Red felt so prequel novella-ish. There really isn’t much to comment on regarding the plot. However, I would continue the trilogy in (high) hopes that the story will pick up its pace in the next two books.