The stars aligned on Saturday and I could have taken a nap—a long, luscious nap, people—and I refused (!) because Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays had me in its thrall. This YA thriller/time travel adventure/dystopian/romance captivated me--more like held me hostage, to be honest--and this morning, I’m still thinking about it.
This. book. is. so. good. (Someone please read it so that I can discuss it with you and get rid of this excessive feeling.)
I can’t discuss too much of the plot on this one because it’s so finely done that going too far will reveal too much—and you need to discover it as a reader. So this is what I’ll say: Em and Finn are in next door prison cells, where they’ve been for months. The world outside has gone to shit. Em discovers a piece of paper in a drain in her floor which tells her that the only option they have left is to kill the Doctor holding them prisoner. She and Finn use a machine to time travel four years to the past so that they can do just that.
Then the story explodes and you’re left holding on with a white-knuckled grip.
Sound comfortable? It shouldn’t because it’s not. I felt everything--everything—when I read All Our Yesterdays, and the ending is particularly emotional.
Told from the perspective of Em and Marina, her four years younger self, All Our Yesterdays gives us so much to dig into, especially when it comes to viewing our past selves. Do you remember the soul-crushing sadness and beauty of being a teenager? How important some things seemed to you then, how invested you were in certain things, and how much feeling you had, especially when it came to matters of love? The hopefulness; the vulnerability. We see it all in Marina, but the time travel element of Terrell’s fantastic book also gives us the benefit of passing time. There’s a special kind of bewilderment, tenderness, and sometimes humiliation through which we can view our teenage selves, and that’s part of Em’s story.
Characterization matters aside, there’s the fiercely rendered plot, which starts fast and speeds up to Jason Bourne-like levels (minus the shaky cinematography).
Like Chrissy Teigen, All Our Yesterdays has it all. Highly recommended for anyone who likes to read and has a heart.
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.