All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill ARC Review: Time travel done right

August 8, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill ARC Review: Time travel done rightAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Series: All Our Yesterdays #1
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on August 1, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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A brilliantly brain-warping thriller and a love story that leaps back and forth in time – All Our Yesterdays is an amazing first novel, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games.

Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet. 

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture – being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future . . .

All Our Yesterdays hits all the right spots when it comes to time travel. Instead of using different time frames and locations which is confusing, time travel is used as a means to an end. Em and Finn travel back in time to right the wrongs of the future, and their mission is to kill the one man who spoiled it all by inventing time travel – the doctor.

From their beginnings in a bleak cell and getting tortured by relentless men they call ‘the doctor’ and ‘the director’, Em and Finn travel 4 years in the past before it all happened. This is where Marina resides, a rich, popular girl whose only concern is a crush on her best friend James. When Em, aims a gun at James and attempts to shoot him, their story lines converge.

I really enjoyed seeing the story unfold in such an interesting way. It’s told through two perspectives, Marina in the past, and Em’s covering the future. Em witnesses powerful flash backs that bridge the gap between these two timelines, and we see how Em becomes hardened, purposeful, but also why she’s hesitant to pull the trigger.

By using these different perspectives, we’re able to experience these characters in their innocence, before they become twisted and hardened in the future.

Through Marina, we’re able to grow attached to James, her best friend and crush who loses his brother in an assassination. James is a genius who believes he can use his brains to solve the world’s problems, and here we experience his sweet, gentle, and determined nature. His best friend Finn is a bit of a comedian, he’s charming and can always make someone smile.

Em is travelling with future Finn who is brave and hardened, a large contrast from the class clown that grates on Marina’s nerves. While it is obvious who Finn is, the rest of the characters is unfolded slowly throughout the novel and things begin falling into place.

The plot is incredibly fast paced, with Em and Finn constantly trying to corner James before the doctor comes after them. While time travel has the tendency to be confusing, the author has simplified it in such a way that works for the purposes of this novel. She basically explains that time freezes certain events that cannot be changed, and using action to change them will mean it corrects itself, to protect itself from paradoxes.

While the romance wasn’t the main focus of the book, I loved how the best friend actually turned out to be the better match for the girl, and how there wasn’t a love triangle.

All Our Yesterdays also blurs the lines between good and evil, as we find out the motivation behind James and his actions. He wants to save the world using time travel, but he ends up twisted and wrong as people start to get in his way. The moral of the story is that too much power is never a good thing, even though you had good intentions in the beginning.

All Our Yesterdays is a heart pumping, mind boggling novel that deals with time travel in the an engaging, elegant manner. The character development is superb covering multiple perspectives from past and present and Em, Finn and James are characters that you’ll grow fond of. It’s surprising this is Cristin’s debut novel, and I can’t wait for more!

I received a print copy from Bloomsbury AU and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for this book, I loved it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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24 responses to “All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill ARC Review: Time travel done right

  1. Intelligent time travel + great character development + no emphasis on love triangle = awesome book! I'm really looking forward to this one.

    I liked how your review covered every important point – I assume 😉 – without spoiling the book or reveling in fangirl attitude. Refreshing review :).
    Roberta R. recently posted…Jutta Goetze: “Luna-C”My Profile

  2. Eve

    I agree! This is my favorite time-travel book. And Finn was amazing, definitely my favorite character, both in the past and the future. I liked how Terrill shows that even people with good intentions can turn into monsters and how someone who's concerns for the future are shallow can turn out to be a hero. It was so refreshing from everything else I've read. And I was so glad the romance didn't dominate the book! Finn and Em were perfect for each other.
    Eve recently posted…Review: InsurgentMy Profile

  3. I really liked this book too! I agree, the character development was fantastic and I really liked comparing the past and future narratives and seeing how everything changed. I'm really excited for the next All Our Yesterdays book! 🙂 Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  4. It's nice to hear the romance didn't take over the story but it was still enjoyable. I'm bringing this one on my trip and can't wait to start it. The time travel concept is so awesome.

    Great review, and thanks for stopping by my blog!
    Alise recently posted…Review: Prodigy by Marie LuMy Profile

  5. I'm so excited for this book, Jeann.

    Everyone has been raving on and on about it and I know that I'm going to enjoy it as well. The characters sound like they are really well-developed and the time-travel aspect seems like it's well done. I should get to it soon. I also love the sound of the romance. Best friends romances are usually my favorite, so I can tell I'll enjoy it here too.

    Lovely review! 🙂
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Book Haul & Weekly Recap #33My Profile

    • Excellent, you're gonna really enjoy this book then, especially with the best friend romance 😀 It definitely does live up to the hype! Thanks for visiting Nick. Can't wait to hear what you think of it.

  6. Sandy Bartles

    I don't usually read time travel books, but this one sounds really interesting. Good luck!

  7. I must check this one out since I love the idea of time travel though I didn't enjoy the book, "The Time Traveller's Wife". Your review is very thoughtful and Oops! I guess love triangles are out then. I'll have to phase out the love triangle in the second volume of my YA trilogy!
    Marjorie DeLuca recently posted…FOREVERTHINK!My Profile

  8. Oooh this one sounds just fantastic! I've been a bit worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype, but it sounds like it does! Plus, it's so great that there isn't a love triangle. I'm definitely happy about that! Great review, doll 🙂