- Release Date : September 3 2013
- Genre : Sci-Fi/Thriller
- Publisher : Hyperion Teen
- Pages : 368
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 . . . All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
All Our Yesterdays has been on my radar since I heard it was one of the books on the 2013 Book Expo America YA Editor's Buzz Panel. It was described as "deceptively simple" and "more than a standard girl goes back in time to save the world."
This is a story that starts at the end. Em is a prisoner in a secret government facility. Her only company is Finn, the boy in the cell next to her. Now I know this might sound like Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi but don't let these first few pages fool you. Em and Finn have to escape and go back in time to their yesterdays (wink wink nudge nudge) and kill ' the doctor", the man who changed the world for the worst in order to save the future.
This book cuts to the chase in the first chapter and the plot start rolling immediately. The story is intense and full of action as Finn and Em travel back in time four years to chase down their target across Washington, D.C. all while having to avoid their past selves. Within the first few pages you want to follow along with the characters to see what's going to happen next.
I liked how Em and Finn aren't each others love interest; they are already in a relationship. I think having this pre-existing relationship totally changes the dynamics of the story. When we see them fight or make sacrifices for one another it means so much more than if they had just met.
The only issue I had with this book is that I couldn't wrap my head around the concept of time travel as presented in this universe. In the first chapter we learn that there is a piece of paper that past versions of Em has used to come up with ideas on how to save the world, but I didn't understand how the paper could still be there or how she knew she would come back to that point with the writing still there. I can only base this on the ARC but I'm not sure I understood the ending at all.
Over at Kirkus Reviews, Ana Grilo (from Book Smugglers blog) bought up a few more points about the relationship between a privileged character and her somewhat stereotypical maid that I think are worth a conversation, as well as the way other teen girls are treated in the novel.
This book just had a lot of great moments in it. Terrill's writing is exciting and makes an entertaining YA thriller. Even though I had a hard time understanding the mechanism's behind the plot I'd put this novel on my favorite books of 2013 list. All Our Yesterdays is a thrilling YA novel that test the limits of good, evil and friendship.
All Our Yesterdays is a duology (not a stand alone like I thought) , so I'm hoping the second book will clear up some of the confusing aspects of this book.