Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill

Author: Cristin Terrill
Publication date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

"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. 


Review: 
First line: I stare at the drain in the center of the concrete floor.

I think Cristin Terrill smirked for days after finishing this book (well, after she collapsed from relief and exhaustion as well) and maniacally laughed as she saw readers' and bloggers' responses to All Our Yesterdays. I really do. Because here's the thing about this work of art: it grabs your eyeballs, dictates your sleep, grips your heart, spins you around, and then lets you deal with the aftermath. I felt Terrill's smirk just radiating off the very last acknowledgement page. She's good, folks. Better than good. 

This is a really hard book to review. At least, it was for me. You have so many twists and spoilers lurking everywhere that I just want to point at each aspect and say that was good and that and that and that. 


The characters:

We have Em, who we first meet in a prison (dungeon?) cell. Like most everyone, I adored Em. She was rough, but passionate. Willing to save Marina (the other girl who we'll get to) and Finn and take down the crazy Doctor. She's tortured daily, physically and emotionally. People always love a strong girl and there have been many discussions on what defines a character as strong. Physical strength? Emotional toughness? Mental stamina? Well, Em was all of that. She endured torture and escaped after finding a note, she constantly examined things throughout, and considering the hard spot she was put in, she knew to keep her emotions on a tight reign. She kicked butt and I loved it. 

Then there's Marina. Rich, soft Marina. I did like her and continued to throughout the book. She's in love with her best friend James, but has everything else a teenager could want. Of course, that all comes crashing down when an incident happens and she realizes that nothing will ever be the same. I actually felt like Em in the story because I desperately wanted to protect her, but at the same time, wanted to open her eyes to the painful truth.

I wish I could talk about every single character because I liked them all. From Em to the helpful soldier, Terrill didn't waste a single line in the whole novel. If any of you read my 2013 End of Year Book Survey, you'll see that along with All Our Yesterdays appearing multiple times, one of the characters named Finn appeared as well in the fictional boyfriend question. Finn. Witty, sarcastic, loyal, charming, strong, and THERE. I don't know how else to describe it, but he's there for Em and has that thing about him that I love in fictional males. 

The time travel: 

Time travel is a tricky thing, I can't even imagine writing about it. How about if I just said that, yes, Terrill did an excellent job with it and explaining it and making me envision Em and Marina's whole world? 

The twists: 

Well, obviously, I can't say anything about this point. Almost the whole book is made up of twists and spoilers. Some I guessed, some I flipped out over. It enthralled me. Each new chapter seemed to build my impatience to see what would happen, but at the same time, I wanted the story to go on forever. I heard something about one of the twists, but fortunately, it was miscommunication of sorts because I wasn't spoiled. Even if I was, Terrill made up for it with all the other surprises. 

All I really wanted to do for this review was put a big stamp in the middle of the page that said: EXCELLENT. Truly, it was one of the best standalones books I've ever read. I messaged Lauren from Love is not a triangle constantly through my process (thanks, Lauren!). The ending was exactly what I wanted so, yes, the glaring negative that I find is that there is now a sequel coming out. I will be definitely clamoring to get it, but considering that I thought a standalone would be perfect, it's disappointing. Also, I get anxiety just reading the synopsis. 

Verdict: AMAZING, SPECTACULAR, WONDERFUL, um, all the positive emotions? 

28 comments:

  1. YEP. I agree with everything you just said - I mean, I'm sure that she collapsed from the mental exhaustion first, but GAH she was so smirking! Em was a great character, that's for sure. And obviously we're both in love with Finn! There is almost nothing that I can say here that isn't a spoiler, BUT AH CAN WE TALK ABOUT THOSE TWISTS? Magic. Great review, Summer!

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    1. YES DM ME OR EMAIL ME BECAUSE AH. That's it. Magic. It was all magical.

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  2. I've seen so much praise for this book and I have an e-copy for review, but I'm nervous. High expectations usually are a set up for disappointment. I'll to clear all preconceived ideas before going in. Sometimes when I love the ending of a book and I think the situation is just fine where things left off, I'll ignore the fact that there's a sequel *la la la-can't hear you* and pretend that it doesn't exist. Lol! Especially if the sequel promises angst and drama. Great review, Summer! :)

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    1. I definitely get that. I didn't read my ARC of TBS or this AOY because of high expectations. Haha! I never even thought about doing that. Well, I hope you read this soon!

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  3. I LOVE an unpredictable story line. All the twists sound great, and your review makes me want to pick up my copy of this like right now. Even the characters sound amazing and it seems like this is a winner all around. Definitely moving this up on the TBR.

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    1. PICK IT UP! I'm happy you are because ah, it's wonderful.

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  4. I tried reading this book, but it wasn't one I enjoyed. :( I think it was a little too dark for me. I'm glad to hear you love it, though! :)

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  5. I also really enjoyed this one! The storyline was so interesting and I agree with you about the writing being especially great. I didn't know that this wasn't a standalone...I'm excited to see what will happen in the sequel. Amazing review, Summer! :)

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  6. Haha - yes, Finn was a great character. They all were. Crap, I haven't even seen the blurb for the 2nd one, there wasn't one when I checked last. Must go see ...

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  7. This one grabbed my eyeballs, too! I agree, the time travel parts were done really well. I got a little frustrated with her hesitating not once, not twice, but three times during crucial moments, but overall it was really fun.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. That was really frustrating. I wanted to push her myself!

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  8. I've started reading this one, but I didn't get the opportunity to finish it >< I know there are so many raving reviews around, so I'm sure I want to pick it up again soon! :) The time travel aspect sounds excellent, and I know Mel @ YA Midnight Reads said that it was a Time Travel that was finally done right, so I think I'll have to check this one out again soon! :)
    Wonderful review, Summer!

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  9. I needed a little time in order to process the ending (must be old age creeping on me LOL). Then I finally decided it made sense...and from that moment on, I began to wonder how a sequel could work. I will definitely pick it up because I hate to leave a series unfinished - but ???
    I did like this first installment - I was even able to swallow the almost-love-triangle, since it was so peculiar.

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    1. EXACTLY. I really wonder how she'll do it, but I don't doubt that she'll pull it off amazingly.

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  10. YES to this whole review. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one so much!

    I felt the same way about Marina - I wanted to be there, in the story, watching out for her, which is saying a lot because her life is not one that would be ideal to live. But luckily Em is such a great big sister figure that I knew the younger girl was in good hands. :) The time travel is fantastic as well - my review was pretty much JUST about how amazing that aspect was. And the twists! I don't recall every detail (actually, there are probably a ton of things I've forgotten since reading this book in August - that shows you how good my reading memory is), but I remember loving them. If I had stronger confidence in my ability to remember the specifics, I would demand that we discuss.

    Really the only downside is the sequel. I sense that this is one of those cases where an intended standalone receives an unnecessary followup just to make money... and book two always ends up being a disappointment. I'll probably wait until you read it and then ask if it's worthwhile. :)

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    1. Believe me, I get that. I only read it this past December and I know I probably have forgotten quite a few things! Hey, then for the sequel we can discuss (so I'll probably say read it anyways;)

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  11. YAYAYAYAY! I'm so thrilled that we read this one around the same time and could talk about it. I agree that the characters really helped make this book, and Terrill did an amazing job with both Em and Marina. Oh I love that boy Finn so much. Lots of twists, and mind bending elements, but this was also so much fun to read. Definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm really excited about the next one, but also nervous, because I'm not sure where the story will go?

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    1. Me too! I was at first outraged that there would be a sequel because the first one is just PERFECT and I want it to be left alone. But upside is that we have more Finn at least.

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  12. I'm still so confused no why there is a sequel. lol I mean of course 'll read it and probably love it but this was so perfect as a standalone. I'm so happy you loved this! I did too! :)

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  13. So so glad you loved this book!! I completely devoured it when I was on a cruise back in August. My family had a hard time getting me to do anything but sit by the pool and read. I loved all the twists and turns Terrill created. She's somewhat of a genius, right?! And the ending was perfect. I don't want a sequel! I thought it was perfect the way it was. All loose ends were tied up, everything was explained.

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    1. Haha! Perfect poolside read though. An EVIL genius.

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  14. This one *is* a really hard book to review....it's just so good, so intense, so full of twisty-ness. :) This is definitely one where a fangirl review would have done the trick, I think. :D I was happy with that ending, too, but I'm okay with a sequel...I just don't even want to have a clue what's going to happen going into it. So, I'm just going to buy it and hope for the best. =)

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  15. I agree with your opinion of All Our Yesterdays! Honestly, it blew me away. Once I started reading it, I just could not stop because I had to know what would happen at the end! Seriously, Terrill wrote some terrific characters, a story full of twists and turns AND managed to keep it moving seamlessly and all together.

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