Sunday, September 1, 2013

10 Heart Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays
Cristin Terrill

Page Count: 362

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion Books (Disney)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, JKS Communications!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

"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.

Review


"[Time travel] sounds dangerous to me," Finn says. "So much could go wrong."
"There are risks," James concedes, "but progress is always dangerous, isn't it? Most of the time, walls don't get dismantled brick by brick. Someone has to crash through them."

I'm sobbing right now, guys. SOBBING. Okay, maybe not literally tears-flowing-down-my-cheeks sobbing but I'm in this messy state of existence where my heart is in a million shards, and a helpless I've-finished-this-book-so-now-what-do-I-do guttural moan escapes from the depths of my soul every few seconds.

Yeah. I've got it that bad.

Now that you know my current state of emotional health (and of my drama queen tendencies), let me quickly summarize my thoughts on this book, in case you are not interested in reading my entire review in all its fangirly and incoherent glory:

My. New. Favorite.

See the direction in which I'm headed?

All Our Yesterdays is thrilling, jolting, and one of the best time-travel romances I've ever read.

Emphasis on ever.

During a time of deep bureaucratic brew in Washington DC, Marina Marchetti finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a sensitive, highly guarded affair. As if her hopeless crush on her genius best friend, James Shaw, doesn't make her life—where she's too plain, too out-of-place, and too ignored—hard enough. Now, she's caught up in a dangerous political battleground, and there's no telling if her life—or James's—will be safe, or even significant, ever again.

In another time—in an alternate, but simultaneous world set four years into the future—Em makes a dreadful discovery: in order to save herself, save humanity, she has to kill him. It's the only option she has left; her past selves have tried every other method, and each of them has failed, and proceeded to write them down onto a piece of paper which she finds in the drain of her prison cell. It's the last thing in the world she wants to do, but she knows there are certain sacrifices she has to make. Alongside Finn, the one boy who's suffered with her, comforted her, and loved her throughout it all, she's determined to succeed in this critical mission upon which the entire world depends... because this time, it may be her last chance.

There was not one page in All Our Yesterdays that didn't have my full, aching attention. The plot moves quickly and it moves consequentially; it pained me even to blink because that's how desperately I didn't want to miss anything. The shifting perspectives between Marina and Em not only create a mounting sense of anticipation, but also masterfully connect the two different worlds, the two different narrators, which brings the entire story revolving around the pivotal time machine, into full circle.

The intense storyline was enough to impress me, but on top of this, Cristin Terrill just had to breathe life into her characters. She depicts such a genuine dynamism in every single one—the kind that could only result from the affliction each of them has been through. Your heart will break along with James's, Marina's, and Finn's, I guarantee it.

Marina starts off as a bit of a brat, and it isn't until the boy she loves hardens before her very eyes that she realizes the horrors of a dangerously brilliant mind and an equally determined heart. I connected with her in her imperfections and her tragic vulnerabilities; while she's not the kind of person I'd beg to become best friends with, she is a terrific protagonist and her account is not only mind-bending, but also highly moving.

Em is a different kind of narrator. She's unwavering and she's clever—a lethal combination—and the past four years have toughened her up greatly. However, a wisp of that hopeful, loving person she used to be—the kind who just wanted to believe in the good in people—still resides deep inside of her, even after all she's been through. That is her weakness.

Finn is by far the most affecting character. He made me laugh out loud and wince, my heart clamp up, and my gut drop. He's basically the perfect book boyfriend: clever, hilarious, strong. The thing is, Em, whom he's in love with, can't detach herself fully from her past... and that is his weakness.

A fierce love's war meets The Butterfly Effect when Em and Finn realize time travel isn't a wonder; it's an abomination. Their efforts to keep everything that has ever happened from ever happening, however, does have its disastrous consequences, including putting their own lives and existences at stake. Time is complex and perplexing that way; it has a mind of its own, and whatever repercussions it delivers for messing with it, they'll have to withstand. After all, in this type of war, sacrifice is the only effective weapon that exists.

All Our Yesterdays is electrifying, devastating, and THE GODDAMN REASON I'LL PROBABLY NEED THERAPY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Sorry, I'm sorry. It's just that this book has messed with my emotions so much; I can't even control my outbursts now. I swear this is the last time I'll do that.

Pros


Unpredictable and suspenseful // Unique take on time travel // Purposeful in message and tender in tone // Realistically frightening dystopian setting // Expertly portrayed dynamism in characters // Gorgeous, perfectly balanced romance // FINN FUCKIN' ABBOTT // Just a bleepin' phenomenal book, okay?? Don't even ask, just go buy

Cons


A couple plot holes, as expected from a time travel story with its paradoxes and whatnot; did not detract from my enjoyment, though (obviously)

Love


The pure reason why I am upset that Finn Abbott does not exist in real life:
"Ready?" I say, more to myself than Finn.

I raise the key to the door, but before I can put it in the lock, Finn slides his hand around my neck and pulls me against him, muffling my squawk of surprise with his lips. He kisses me like I've never been kissed before. Kiss is too small a word for it. It's like he's pouring every ounce of love and lust and regret, every moment of pent-up longing from months in a cell, into me. I press up into him, and when he pulls away to rest his forehead against mine, I'm dazed and out of breath.

"Now," he whispers, the words ghosting over my lips, "I'm ready."

Verdict


Shocking, exhilarating, and breathtakingly romantic, this YA dystopian thriller 
will consume you and frighten you and shatter you to pieces. I promise you, All Our Yesterdays will leave you writhing, gasping, and reeling in the aftermath of its frenzied, enthralling story of what happens when time travel goes utterly, horribly wrong. With a powerful narrative voice, intoxicating characters, and a romance that is all of tender, complicated, and heartfelt, Cristin Terrill brings readers a staggering debut that simply cannot be missed Americanflag

10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. Drop everything and go buy yourself a copy now! (x)