Thursday, August 29, 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release: September 3, 2013
Source: ALA
"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.
Time travel. What a perfidious path to take a book. While it has the potential to build a thrilling story, movement between years, dimensions, or any place bound by space and time opens up opportunities for plot holes and an expanse of difficult-to-explain points. I always enter novels like these warily, ready to suspend my belief and contain my confusion for the sake of the story. Sometimes these lowered expectations prove necessary and create a buffer for ambiguous ideas and confusing theories. But on other occasions, the novel exceeds them by miles and proves that science fiction really can make sense.

All Our Yesterdays is one of the latter instances.

Cristin Terrill's debut soars through its descriptions of time travel, illustrating how a person's actions affect the future and inserting paradoxes with just the right amount of detail. All Our Yesterdays balances complex ideas with common language descriptions followed by a series of events that show readers what time is capable of, and by the end of the book, everyone will be content in his or her knowledge of its multiple realities. This is not to say readers will always be sure of what is happening in the plot; they will not. But each instance of confusion is intentional, either a concept to make them think or a vague storyline to make them need to know more.

Whereas a weaker time travel element would have been distracting, this story's smoothness allows readers to slip into both of its aforementioned angles: the nonstop action and the conceptual intellectualism. These two sides, while strong on their own, support each other to create a perfect blend of quietly thinking and madly flipping pages, a combination for which I am constantly searching.

The first thing that grabs readers is the conflict. All Our Yesterdays ensnares minds with its murderous moments, and its intense action makes it impossible for readers to turn away. Best of all of all, it accentuates the characters as their relationships and views of themselves are tried, intensified, and changed in the face of such high stakes. My need to know not only whether or not certain people emerged alive, but how they would grow different kept me attached to the story, my brain strung to it even when I was not reading.

Even more fascinating, though, is watching how the characters change the action. Readers get to see the way the way people from the present affect their former selves and vice versa. This not only forces consideration of the outcome of one's every choice, but it supports the concept of rime travel, further helping readers understand how it functions. My favorite aspect of this book was watching the stories of individual characters shift, and now that I have read it, I more frequently catch myself considering he implications of the things I say and do.

Equal parts gripping and thought-provoking, All Our Yesterdays is a book you will not want to put down once you enter its world, and even the most skeptical of science fiction readers will find themselves addicted to the plot and enthralled with the characters. Most of all, they will find this story carries the surprising ability to change them, and they will emerge with different ideas about the millions of paths that branch from each seemingly small decision. They may anguish over some of their selections or they may give thanks to each one for shaping the lives they have today.

Reading All Our Yesterdays will be one of the decisions they do not regret.

19 comments:

  1. "Perfidious" made me smile.

    I literally have not found one negative review on this book. Not one. So everyone has nudged me farther and farther to read it, you have pushed be off the cliff (which sounds horrible, but if a book is there waiting for me then it couldn't be too bad).

    I'm excited that the concept didn't confuse or be muddied up in the process of being told. The characters and YAY GOOD CONFLICT! sounds amazing. After my GG reread-a-thon, I shall start this one. Well...maybe put a book or two in between, because after United We Spy, I'll be a mess.

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    1. "Perfidious" is so fun to say. I just want to keep saying it.

      Yes, this book is worth that trip off of a cliff! Your Gallagher Girls readathon sounds like fun, and I will send my continued support when you finish United We Spy. This would actually be a great follow up to the last GG book because its action is not too terribly far from Carter level.

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  2. I'm glad this book seemed smooth. Often times time travel books can be confusing when it jumps back and forth all the time. I've see a couple of really positive reviews for this and have already added it to my to-read shelf! Nice review =)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, time travel can give readers a headache if the author is not careful. I hope you enjoy this one when you get to it!

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  3. Your use of perfidious made my day, by the way.

    I usually don't read time travel books because I usually end up quitting the book pretty early on. I did just read Pivot Point and I liked how each possible future affected each other, which seems similar to how you described the characters changing the action of their stories.

    When I see this one on the shelves, I think I will have to snatch it!

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    1. I should just rename my blog "The Perfidious Fan Club" since I have received multiple comments from people who seem to love the word as much as I do. :)

      Hmm, what is it about time travel books that makes you stop? They can be somewhat difficult, so I understand why you are wary; I am too! I'm glad you have plans to read this one though, and I hope you enjoy it!

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  4. I like the sound of "The Perfidious Fan Club" as well as your use of a semi-colon.

    I guess I don't really know why I stop. It's almost like I expect so much from them and if they don't deliver the excitement/intrigue right away I get bored.

    I hope that I end up like All Our Yesterdays as much as you did. I want to finally be able to say I loved a time travel book.

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    1. You're a semicolon fan too? It is such a handy punctuation mark. I can already tell we have much in common. :)

      Ah, I can relate to that. If you were to read, say, a contemporary romance, you would hope for a slowly developed relationship, but with action-based books, you just want the danger to start right away. It does become more important to have an immediate hook.

      Good luck with this book! I would recommend it to a person who is nervous about time travel plots because the action does start pretty quickly.

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  5. YES YES YES your review is SO TRUE. Science fiction CAN work if its written well and 'perfidious' o.O *high give*

    Thanks for stopping by and i'm a new follower!

    p.s i replied to your comment on my blog too if you want to take a look. :)

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    1. I tend to be cautious of the genre, but it totally can work! And I am LOVING all this "perfidious" appreciation.

      You're welcome and thank YOU for following!

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  6. Time travel, when done well, is my FAVOURITE element of a book/movie/TV series. It's mindblowing to the point where I'll just dazedly after it ends, replaying every scene in my head, and trying to come up with a grounded, scientific explanation for all the impossibly possible things that happened. So glad to hear that All Our Yesterdays got the time travel part right, and the characters!! I love a character-driven book and well, you've definitely had me sold on this one =)

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story

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    1. Exactly! Your description of your reaction to time travel is pretty much perfect and I do precisely the same thing. It's scary that it could someday be possible (I hope people never develop a method, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did) and it's fascinating to watch an author MAKE is possible, even if it only exists in a fictional world.

      I'm glad I sold you and I hope you enjoy the book!

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  7. I'm so excited for this book! So many people have said it's a fantastic one, and I just want to find out why for myself. I've learned from experience to not put off or overlook the books I've heard nothing but great things about. I did that with Divergent, and I don't want to do it again.

    Great review!

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    1. It can be scary to read a book everyone else loves, but I agree that it's better not to put it off. Popularity creates more discussion opportunities you'll miss and spoilers you might hear. Would you believe I have yet to read Divergent? I should probably do that.

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  8. I feel like I am late to the party but perfidious just because my word of the week, like, srsly. It's like petrichor (the smell of rain). I want to bundle myself up in it and just cuddle.

    MORE RELATED TO THE POST: You have made me so unbelievably excited for this book. I love time-travel.

    <3

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    1. *just BECAME

      It BECAME my favourite word. Omg I am so so sorry. So, sometimes, I get distracted when typing and I write the word I am thinking because I don't look at the keyboard? My manuscripts are FULL of typos that aren't actually words spelled wrong but entirely the wrong word (feet instead of feel, ship instead of sit, etc etc).

      Please accept my sincerest apologies.

      Yrs,

      Mia

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    2. Wait, there is a word for the smell of rain?!?! You made my night by telling me that, so thank you very much.

      Yes! I'm constantly getting that "envelop me in your beauty and let's snuggle" feeling with words. I think it's a normal side effect of logolepsy.

      As for the typo, I feel your pain. Errors always reveal themselves after you press "send," and noticing them is a terrible experience, but I assume the person on the receiving end generally doesn't care. I always start hating myself over things like that, but I'm totally fine with that typo as the receiver. It's weird how life always tends to work that way. I cannot comprehend how anyone can listen to music while writing anything because I do the same thing with distractions. If my thoughts wander, I type what I'm thinking; if there's music, I type lyrics.

      I'm glad I made you more excited and I hope the book doesn't disappoint!

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  9. *looks up perfidious* I'm so excited about the book, but I agree that time travel has a way to mess with your head if you're not careful. I'm seeing so many time travel books these days it's ridiculous. Same goes for parallel universe books.

    New follower, thanks for following my blog!

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    1. I'm teaching people words! I feel accomplished!

      It does seem to be becoming a more popular trope. And as with any common theme, there is often a reason it becomes so widespread, but with so many people doing it, making the idea one's own can be hard. Especially when the idea is confusing, abstract, and hard to explain. We can only hope that authors will treat the time travel/parallel universes concept with respect and not look for easy ways out of the science.

      You're welcome and thank YOU!

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love to hear your thoughts, and I read every one. You just became one of my favorite people, so I will try to visit your blog in return.