All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – A Review

 Hello lovelies!  I trust you enjoyed last week’s review of The Fault in Our Stars.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you can do so here.
Title:  All Our Yesterdays
Author:  Cristin Terrill
Genre:  Teen Fiction, Science Fiction, (no Lexile score yet)
Teaser (on back cover):
When I force my eyes open, he has the gun.
He points it at me, his chest heaving.
“Do it,” I say. “I’ll only come back.”
His eyes are bright. “I could never do it. That’s not what this is about.”
I bow my head, thinking of Marina and how I have failed her.
All the fight seeps out of me.  Does the doctor have her by now?
“You’ll feel different someday,” I say.
Synopsis:  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 and each other, and only one of them can win.
About the Author: Imagine this: a drama major from Vassar, with a masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. Sounds serious and, well, dramatic, right?  Her debut novel is science fiction. Let me repeat that: science fiction.  For teens, no less.  What!?  Don’t let her education fool you.  She not only writes, but teaches creative writing classes in the DC area for kids and teens.  She even refers to herself as an “aspiring grown-up”.  To learn more about Cristin, see her website here (it has links to all her social media sites, too).
First Impression:  It’s science fiction.  Knowing that, the title speaks for itself and it says “time-travel”.  That subject can either blow your mind or frankly, just blow.  Bring it on.
For those who are not familiar with the science fiction genre and are unsure if it is the right fit for your reading pleasure, this book is a great place to start.  I have dabbled in science fiction before, but am very picky about what I read.  It’s a tricky genre.  When done well, it makes sense and has the tendency to be highly believable.  When it’s not done well, you’ll have a headache inspired by raised eyebrows and a constant look of disbelief. 
Terrill has clear parameters surrounding her story of time-travel and doesn’t stray (too far) from those parameters, so you get a real feel for what’s happening and why.  With a controversial subject such as time-travel, the morality of the possible effects – you know, the butterflies and whatnot – is a central issue, even if it’s just in the mind of the reader.  You might find yourself picking a side.  When the question of morality came up in my book club, this is what I had to say:

 “If you don’t know the consequences, is it really worth the risk? Sure, Hot Tub Time Machine came out just fine, but The Butterfly Effect didn’t. Also, if you read 11/22/63 by Stephen King, it goes through the potential risks that could arise if you change the past. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it. There’s too much at stake and not enough assurance that everything would be okay.”

Apart from time-travel, you get love and loss, teenage mini-drama, politics, and more. Layers, people.  Layers are what make a great story.
It’s written in dual POV, meaning there are two narrators: Em, the main character, and Marina.  If you’re worried about it being hard to follow, the switches between Em and Marina are flawless.  Each has a distinct personality and voice.  Plus, the author was nice enough to write the current narrator’s name before they start talking – so, bonus!
Final Thoughts:  When I finally set my mind to focus on the book, I couldn’t put it down.  The characters are engaging and intriguing.  I probably finished it in a matter of days.  It’s an amazing piece of writing, especially for a debut novel.
In the end, you’ll probably have questions.  I know I did – well, I had one burning question and I’d share, but I don’t want to spoil it for you!  Come back and comment when you’ve read it.
My Suggestion: If you’re a dabbler of sci-fi like me, it’s a definite buy, but if you’re on the extreme ends – never read a sci-fi book in my life or hardcore sci-fi reader – get it from your library or borrow it from a friend.  you won’t regret it.  I know I didn’t!
[You may notice that I suggest the library a lot.  Funny thing is, I don’t go to the library.  I have a library card, but I don’t go.  I am a hoarder of books, whether they end up being diamonds or coal and I am aware that it is a waste of money when a book flops.  Which is the exact reason I suggest the library.  I may have been lucky so far to love 99% of the books I buy, but that 1%… I wouldn’t do that to you.]  With that being said:
Star Rating:
Like it?  Where to Buy:
AbeBooks →
Many other fine retailers (these are my favorites)
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only.

One thought on “All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – A Review

  1. Robin, your review is incredible. I'm not kidding. I've not heard of this book, but now, I'll have to give it a read. It sounds interesting. @Time travel- I couldn't deal with the losses of life in the future. Change is hard enough now. From one book-hoarder/lover to another, “of course I have the room for just one more book”.

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