There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…
I’m going to be honest with you. If I hadn’t been given All Our Yesterdays for free, I never would have read it. The cover didn’t appeal to me at all. I’m sorry Bloomsbury art people, but it’s true.
It’s also not something that my store has bulk copies of in stock. We received a single copy, which was almost immediately lost in the crowd of single spine-facing-outward titles at the end of the teen fiction section.
A big unadvertised problem with certain author names is that they fall in parts of the shop where they are unlikely to be seen, like bottom shelves, or places where they are ignored in favour of other authors – for instance, right now any author who falls on the same shelf as Cassandra Clare is unlikely to have their book featured in the YA section.
I wouldn’t have picked up All Our Yesterdays. I might not even have seen it. So it was very good luck that Bloomsbury put a copy into my hands. And that one of my Twitter friends asked whether it was worth reading and I remembered I owned a copy and moved it to the top of the pile.
All Our Yesterdays is the story of Em and Finn, two teenagers in the future, and of Marina and James, two teenagers in the present. As it turns out, the future isn’t a nice place and that’s because of something that James has done. Em and Finn escape from prison and travel back in time to try and stop James and save Marina before it’s too late.
What I liked:
Wow. The story really starts with a bang. It throws you right into the action and into the mind of Em, who begins the novel in a (super creepy) prison. When I finished the first three chapters, I was completely hooked and all my doubts about the cover and the confusing-sounding plot completely disappeared.
I am a sucker for time travel in stories – like Connie Willis’ Oxford Historians series, or Kate Saunders’ Beswitched (or Doctor Who, or the Terminator movies) and this story handles it particularly well. I never found myself confused about the timeline (although trying to explain it earlier in this blog post did tie my brain in a couple of knots!).
You really empathise with the characters when you’re reading this – even with past James, despite knowing how he will turn out.
There are a couple of love stories happening here and they both made for great reading. The difference in description between naïve Marina’s feelings for James and jaded Em’s feelings for Finn were clever mirrors of one another. Well done, Cristin Terrill.
It also raises some really interesting questions about destiny and free will and about whether anyone is ever completely irredeemable.
Also, the ending. Wow! (Again) Just, Wow.
What I didn’t like:
Well, I’ve already mentioned that the cover left me cold (several times – sorry again Bloomsbury!)
This book appears to be the first book in a series, but I’m not sure whether I’ll read the rest. Is that a strange thing to say when I enjoyed it so much? It’s just that I feel done. It seems complete to me and I worry that adding more could spoil it.
I really enjoyed this story. I think you will too. If you want to read an action-packed story with twists and romance, this one is for you!