Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

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I received this book for free from Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 3rd 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
Buy on Amazon

"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.

There’s been a slew of time travel books lately and All Our Yesterdays is another one that I can add on the short list of those that impressed me. The time travel concept introduced, while hard to grasp like any and all time travel science, explains how paradoxes fixes itself in a manner that’s utterly fascinating, while giving us a plot that is both thought-provoking and exciting.

All Our Yesterdays has a past/present setting that involves a unique double characterization; even though our main character is a singular person, both her younger and older self form the dual POV of this novel which I found especially interesting. Marina can be hard on herself; even though she admits to turning heads, she doesn’t think she’s pretty or anything special. I didn’t connect to Marina right away because this attitude kept me at arm’s length, but her caring heart does grow on you. Em is more my kind of gal with her strong will and tough attitude. She is just as caring, if not more, and having learned to love herself makes her personality more attractive. Because of this hardened shell, both narratives are considerably different, though with a likeness at their core. Each perspective introduces a set of secondary characters with which the protagonist has a peculiar bond. It was striking to see the changes in their relationships as the story progressed. Finn became my favorite side character, but James’s exceptional intelligence and obvious instability had me compelled. With a dual narrative consisting of past and present characters, it allowed for twists to be dropped at regular intervals which unveiled the mysteries of what happened in the future that changed everything to such a degree. These almost always caught me off guard and often shone a new light on certain characters.

Romantically, this novel contains a unique spin. I can’t divulge very much, but we see how one love crumbles and how one flourishes. It’s kind of bittersweet at times, but I loved how it turned out in the end. Even though its presence is constant, and its role integral to the story, the romance never overpowers the plot; it’s fused into its roots. The book as a whole is well paced with the right amount of suspense and tension. The described political controls of the future are realistic under the circumstances, raising moral questions while at it. Once or twice, to make the plot move forward the author uses opportune happenings that required a little forgiveness on my part. As an example, after Marina gets nothing but a few alphabetical letters from Nate, she has it all figured out and everyone’s quick to agree to a goose chase based on this vague thread of information. However, these instances are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and I still consider the plot to be solid. As for the ending, I had to re-read it and think for a bit for it to make sense. I may not even be correct in my interpretation, either way it makes for a good time travel paradox discussion.

With flawless writing and an unwavering pace, Cristin has weaved time-travel, romance, political intrigue, and mystery into this page-turner of a novel!


4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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30 Responses to “Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill”

  1. Shannelle (The Tracery of Ink)

    I feel so accomplished that I actually read an ARC that people are talking about! *fist-pump*

    I also enjoyed the book, no surprise there! And the ending. It just wrung my heart out, even though it had to be that way. But in the end, I just couldn’t bear it. Still recovering from the book hangover.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    This is a great review, Giselle.
    I’ve heard so many things about this book and now I can’t wait to just get to my copy already. I’m planning on reading it next.
    I’m not too big on time travel books, but this one sounds like it’s well-written.
    The characters sound like they are well-developed. I’m intrigued by the romance in this book. It looks good!
    Lovely review, Giselle! 🙂

  3. Leanna

    I really enjoyed this one. Time travel is generally very hit and miss for me, but this was time travel done right. Also, I adored Finn. I was a little surprised to hear of the sequel, though – this one pretty much made sense as a standalone for me.

  4. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I only just skimmed your review because I will be reading it soon, but I’m so glad to see you liked it! I’m looking forward to read it now!

    OMG OMG OMG!! I MEET YOU TOMORROW!!!! *runs around in circles*

  5. Savannah

    I agree! There has been loads of time travel/different dimensional books coming out. Some area really good. And this is one book that I wanted to read. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick it up. Thanks for sharing your great review.

  6. Bonnie

    I’m so excited for this one… I just won a copy yesterday and cannot wait to get my hands on it. I have not seen a single bad review for this book. And time travel! There aren’t nearly enough books out there about time travel. 🙂

  7. Megan (Ink Skies)

    I wish I could get to this right now, but I have LOADS of other overdue books that need to be read, but yay for four stars! All Our Yesterdays probably has one of the strangest sounding plots I’ve heard of this year, and I’m a little worried about the past/present thing, but thankfully it sounds pretty well done. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you praise a book’s writing as flawless, so that’s a plus too! Super pumped to get started on this one now. 🙂

  8. Christianna

    I have to admit that I only skimmed your review, because I really wanna read this one! Seems like everyone loves it and I’m glad that you liked it too! Hopefully I’ll be on board with all of you, but I could always be the other person. Lol!

  9. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    Yay I’m so happy that you really liked this one! I gave it the same rating as you, and the different characters were so interesting, especially how all of the characters were so different and unique! I also loved the romance. Like you said, it was totally unique and unheard of 🙂

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  10. Megan

    This one sounds really good! Yours in the first review of it I’ve read and I’m glad it’s positive. I’d really like to give this one a try!

  11. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I just started this one and am really enjoying it so far. I can’t wait to see how the whole love thing progresses because it is most definitely unusual but I like it! (I’m to the part where she’s just tried to shoot him but missed!!)

  12. Laureen

    This sounds like a really unique book. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to read this one, but you’re tipping me towards the side that says yes. Thanks for sharing your review!

  13. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I’m actually more excited to read this book after learning that Marina and Em are the same person. Before I knew that, the blurb just left me so incredibly confused. I didn’t understand how it connected or anything, so I certainly didn’t feel very eager to actually read it. Now, however, with the primarily glowing reviews and a slightly better understanding of the story, I’m interested in giving this a try. I can totally see your point about the difficulties in initially connecting with the protagonist – maybe if I anticipate that, it’ll make it easier for me to start eventually liking her. Also, weaving together time-travel and political intrigue sounds wonderful in my mind!

  14. Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    I’ve heard so many great things about this one, Giselle, so it’s great to hear that you enjoyed this one so much as well! I find it fascinating that this one is told in a dual POV- with the same character. I think it would be seriously awesome to see the differences between the two ages of the character. And I can only imagine the awesome twists that would work with that. It’s also great that you were actually able to really understand the time travel aspect in this one- that can be SO hard to grasp in some books. Even though that ending does seem confusing. 😉

    Lovely review Giselle! <3

  15. April

    Hmmm, I’m not usually into time travel books. the only one I like is Time Travelers Wife. But this sounds pretty good. I might have to add it to my list! 🙂

  16. Pili

    I got an ARC of this book and so loved it! I loved that feeling of things being always in motion since the smallest change in the present but past would change in many ways the future/but present!

  17. Molli

    GISELLE. I am close to throwing a fit because I’m not at the point where I can read my ARC.

    I just love the way you talk about books when you’re really passionate about them. Time travel books do seem to be becoming a *thing* which makes me happy BUT I want them to be good, and not just thrown out into the world. So to see that this one impressed you – HECK YES! I enjoyed seeing you talking about the characters and giving us hints about the romance. Definitely reading this one soon.

  18. Ashley

    Awesome review Giselle! I keep reading AMAZING things about this book! I honestly didn’t have any plans to read it but now I feel like I have to! O_O I love thinking about crazy paradoxes lol.

  19. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Hmmm, everyone seems to like the time travel paradox thing but me. Oh well.

    On a positive side, I really liked the POV, because they did read like the same person but were really different in tone and such so still identifiable. That was pretty cool.

    Also, Marina should be hard on herself because she sucks.

    Em’s way better. Also, young James is hot, though Finn has the hate to love appeal, so I approve of this strangely skewed love triangle.

    I really enjoyed the characters and such, but I couldn’t quite deal with the time travel explanation. Still good though!