September 6, 2013

Review: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

(Disclaimer: I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Cristin Terrill's All Our Yesterdays through NetGalley, but this has in no way influenced just how much I enjoyed this fantastic book.)

It's difficult to talk about this story without giving away any of the big reveals, but I promise you that this review will be spoiler-free. But first, here's the synopsis 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.

Before I forget, YA Confidential is celebrating Cristin's book all week with a variety of related posts. You should definitely swing by and check it out (Today's post has a prequel webisode!) And as always, I'm going to regale you with what I loved about the book:

TIME TRAVEL/SCIENCE
The thing about time travel in books and movies is that it often breaks down with a few simple explanations. Even those not overly science minded can point out the sometimes glaring, sometimes subtle flaws. The science behind time travel in All Our Yesterdays  felt fairly convincing to me, which was actually a first for me. The explanation of how this came to be was both easy to wrap my mind around and felt plausible, even while I'm pretty certain it isn't. (Thank God for that. No really.) There is not so much time spent on the hows of it all that the reader gets lost or that the science begins to crumble to pieces, which is a definite plus.

MULTIPLE TIMELINES
With the time travel aspect and multiple timelines, this book had the potential of being very confusing. I'm happy to report that this is not the case here. Without going into borderline spoiler-y details, Terrill has come up with a way to keep these differing timelines straight that works rather well, in my opinion. And speaking of timelines, the world-building in both time periods--a dystopian leaning future and our world as we know it today--felt both convincing and easy to differentiate. Whether the world could change so much in a period of four years is perhaps questionable, but with the presence of a time machine and the absolute power that this inevitably brings, I suppose anything is really possible, you know? A seriously terrifying thought indeed.

CAST OF CHARACTERS
I'll admit, when we're first introduced to Marina she is not the most likeable of characters. In fact, there were echoes of Mean Girls here when we first glimpse Marina interacting with her friends. But this is perhaps one of the best aspects of the book: Marina's development from self-centred individual to one who is both empathetic and sympathetic in a way that doesn't feel forced. Of all the characters, and particularly as a love interest, I really liked Finn. James bothered me in a way that I can't quite put my finger on, but that I think was intentional. He's supposed  to get under your skin, even while there are times you just want to hug him.

STORY AS A WHOLE
From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were enough questions answered to satisfy and yet enough left open to make me want to read the next book. It was fast-paced at times, but there were plenty of moments to catch your breath, to allow for development of both sets of characters, and to help us understand Em's and Finn's reasons for returning to the present.

In short, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book. To celebrate the recent launch of All Our Yesterdays into the world, and to make it easier for one lucky individual to get his/her hands on it, I'm giving away a copy of this awesome book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

43 comments:

  1. If I could travel back in time, I'd write a book about a boy wizard... and a book about a hobbit... and a boot about a vampire who falls in love with an ordinary girl...

    Nah, honestly, I'd probably just appear out of blue phoneboxes for funsies. :)

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    1. Ooo, great answer, Emma! No doubt. Especially the part about the boy wizard. ;-)

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  2. I'm so excited about this book! It sounds absolutely incredible, and I'm glad to hear that the time travel made sense to you (I always have a hard time wrapping my head around that in books). Thank you so much for the giveaway!

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    1. It was a really good book! I think the best part about the time travel thing, like I mentioned, is that Terrill doesn't over-explain, you know? I think that's when things --especially those that aren't currently plausible--start to break down.

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  3. Also, if I could travel back in time, I would go to the court of King Henry VIII in England, since that was what I studied in college. I've always been intrigued by that era, though I doubt I would want to stay there long. :)

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    1. A great answer! And you could tell all of his rather unfortunate wives to run like the wind and get the heck out of there. :P It would be wonderful to see that time period, though, even for a little bit. :-)

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  4. Wouldn't be fair for me to enter over at YAC, but I think it's fair to do so here! If I could go back in time, I would go back to hug my mom.

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    1. Absolutely! I'm glad you came by. And I think going back in time to hug your mom is pretty much the best answer ever. :-)

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  5. LOL! OK--if I could travel back in time, I'd write a screenplay about boy + girl twins who were hidden from their evil dad in a galaxy far, far away... ;o) <3

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  6. If I could travel in time I'll change my university! XD

    I read so many beautiful reviews of this book that I want to read it.

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    1. Oh my goodness. I can totally relate. I'd go to the same university, but I'd go through for a different degree. Oh to have a time machine to do so! :-)

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  7. Oh, I am so entering this giveaway! It seems like I am one of the few people who've yet to read YESTERDAYS, and all I'm finding are rave reviews. Can't wait!

    If I could travel back in time, I think I'd most want to go back and visit interesting or significant moments in history. The Gettysburg Address, for example, would be an amazing speech to hear in person.

    Thanks for the great review, and the giveaway, Jaime!

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    1. It's a really great read! Man, there are so many significant moments in history that I'd love to witness firsthand, too. I can't even begin to list them. :-)

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  8. I cannot wait to read this book, and it's a relief to hear the time travel worked for you. That was probably my biggest worry!

    If I could go back in time, I'd, um, buy all my favorite books in their first edition! I'm also a history geek, so I'd love to take peeks into different time periods or witness a historical moment (e.g. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech).

    Thanks for the great review and giveaway!

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    1. If you are more science-y than I am you might have different thoughts on it, but I was satisfied with the time travel aspect. :-)

      I would love sneak peeks at historical moments as well. (History geek here, too!) MLK's speech would be phenomenal to see.

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  9. Excellent review! This book looks so great. I can't wait to read it!

    If I could go back in time I'd love to see ancient Egypt! Or see what my ancestors looked like and how they got to America!

    Thanks!! :D

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    1. It is really good! Ancient Egypt would be awesome. And YES to seeing your ancestors. I would love that too. There are so many things I'd love to know about my heritage. To find that stuff out firsthand would be incredible. :-)

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  10. Awesome!!! Thanks for the giveaway Jaime! I can't wait to read this!

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    1. Oh, and if I could go back in time, I'd probably go live in the twenties. Or the fifties. I don't know - I could stay forever in the eighties though. I think half my brain is still there. And I didn't know how to do the good reads thing, but it is on my shelf!

      Thanks again!

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    2. There are so many eras in history that would be wonderful to visit. That's why a time machine would be cool. You could pop in and out of different eras whenever you wanted! :-)

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  11. I've been seeing so many great reviews of this book, I had to put it on hold at the library. I can't wait to read it!

    If I could travel back in time, I would go back to the nineties. Because that is where I belong.

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    1. It's definitely a great read. :-)

      It's funny, but I didn't appreciate the 90s nearly enough while I was living in them. Now, I think I'd get a serious kick out of them if I could visit.

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  12. Oh wow this sounds really good! Great review--you made me want to read it without giving anything away :) Thanks, Jaime!

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    1. Missed the giveaway question--I really don't know how I would take advantage of going back in time. I'd like to see the Civil War era because I'm obsessed right now, but I don't know if I'd actually want to go there for very long!

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    2. I think it would be nice to steal even a quick peek, but I wouldn't want to be there for very long either! :-)

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  13. If I could go back in time, I'd probably buy a ticket with the winning numbers ;)

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    1. Ah, yes! Great answer. That would certainly buy a lot of books... :-)

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  14. Going back in time...so many possibilities! I like Sydnee's answer, though. Would be nice to be filthy rich when I came back :)

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    1. I like the way both of you think. ;-) I could handle having all the money in the world to buy books and travel!

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  15. I'd go hang out with our founding fathers. :)

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    1. It would definitely be interesting to see history come alive, like to get a front row seat to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, for instance. I wouldn't mind hanging out with our first Prime Minister here in Canada and other early historical figures in my country's history. :-)

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  16. If I could go back and be assured I wouldn't screw anything up, I'd love to go back and meet my parents when they were dating. "Hey! You're going to get married! And have FOUR kids! I'm older than you are, but I'm your kid. Hi!" It'd be a hoot.

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    1. That could be really interesting, kind of like a Back to the Future kind of thing. :-)

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  17. I know this is "supposed" to be bad( I'm going off movies here), but I would try to redo mistakes that really bothered me. I also would love to travel back in time to see a certain artist/singer.

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    1. I know what you mean about wanting to redo mistakes. I think if I were to try and do that, I'd end up wreaking havoc on some of the good things I have in my life now. Scary thought! :-)

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  18. I'm super excited to read this!

    I think if I could go back in time, I'd revisit my favorite memories in my life so far. I'm so nostalgic so it'd be fun to relive those amazing moments! :)

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  19. Whoo! This book sounds so much fun.

    If I could travel back in time, I'd experience a little of a lot. I'd bounce from year to year and experience the good and the bad and everything in between. (It also wouldn't hurt if some hot guy decided I was worth traveling with. XD)

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  20. This one sounds really good! I especially like what you said about the time travel and scientific explanations feeling convincing to you. As you know, I'm picky about that sort of thing (whether reading or writing)! Great review, Jaime!

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  21. The genre is a little bit out of my usual reading range, but it's good to read out of your normal habits, and it sounds so good!

    And...if I could travel back in time? There would be tons of things, of course, but the first that comes to mind is that I'd like to witness George Washington's existence. He's attained the proportions of myth, but his writings really kind of live up to it...I'd love to see that leadership and charisma in action.

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    1. Also, just noticing the comment a couple above me--I would be very tempted to "fix" things I've done too...but I fear that might not turn out too well. :/ Probably better we can't do this.

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  22. If I could go back in time I would spend more time with my grandmother and actually write down her amazing Japanese food recipes. She was gone unexpectedly within months and we never thought to write anything down and now I miss her more because the food that was quintessentially her is gone.

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  23. If I could travel back in time,I would probably go to a beatles performance,I want to know why people love them so much!
    Thanks for the giveaway,crossing fingers!

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