Reader's Choice Review #3: All Our Yesterdays

Reader's Choice is a weekly meme inspired by Christina at Reader of Fiction's Sadie Hawkins Sunday, where you, the readers of this blog, get to choose what we read and review on the blog each Saturday/Monday, depending on the circumstances.

All Our Yesterdays
Cristin Terrill
Series: None
Release Date: August 1st, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Rating: 5 stars
Word Rating: Excuse me as I adsjkl;
Reviewed by: Melanie
Recommended by: Aneeqah of My Not So Real Life

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"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.

But it's the last line that makes me scramble for the toilet in the corner of my cell. "You have to kill him."

I guess it's no lie that I am an absolute stingy person when it comes to giving out 5 stars. To me, they are the rarest gems of the pile. Being this, I believe I should be permitted to just throw confetti across the room and say, "READ THIS BOOK AND I WILL LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL LOVE ME! It's a double deal!" So that's what I'll do. With a death threat added to the end, don't forget. But of course, if you cannot resist my awesomeness, read on.

All Our Yesterdays broke me, tore me into shreds. I'm still shocked. I'm still dazed. I'm still mind bended into awkward places. I'm still shipping James and Marina. And I'm still clasping onto Em and Finn's hands, not letting go. All Our Yesterdays burned into my stomach, churned a hole that's still there. Entwined with assassination attacks, politics, romance, strong characters and an enormous amount of imagination, Cristin Terrill's debut is not to be missed and will sweep readers off their feet. Miss out on this novel and you will regret it.

A brief summary of this novel is that we have three main characters, who in which create six main characters in all. Don't get it? Good. Otherwise you'll be hunting me down if I explained any further. The book opens up to Em, who's closest neighbour is Finn, fellow imprisoned victim, with desperate searches for escape, Em finds a list. It's full, and all have been crossed out except one. She has told herself to kill her past love. To save the world. To save herself. Utterly suspenseful till the last page, All Our Yesterdays can also hint about another paradoxically ambiguous question, how does each action affect our future? Our tomorrows?

With really only three main characters, Terrill accomplishes well with her limited selection. All I couldn't help but grow to admire. There is Em, who's narration is one of determination, humour and heart. James, reserved and complete nerd. And Finn, oh Finn, sweet, sarcastic and wholly deep. The way these three developed together and unravelled the story was captivating, I could truly feel emotions reflecting off their eyes into mine. So genuine and heart breaking.

All Our Yesterdays may be plot driven, however our subplot unequivocally stands with the friendship and romances illustrated. Craftily and conducted with fantastic dynamics, Terrill clearly knows what she's doing, it's magnificent beyond words. While there is a hint of a love triangle, my usual rush of eye rolls did not appear due to how complex this relationship was and how, at the same time, was just a trio of best friends. While Em, Finn and James may not all get it their way in the end, giggles erupted and tears were shed. The depth of the connections in All Our Yesterdays simply can't be further pressed upon.

In terms of world building and wiring, Terrill has excelled. I didn't feel blind when reading this novel- I could construct the world that Terrill set as a foundation- I could sense the wider image sharper and more concise, the details and information of this This sci-fi, war tainted world wasn't dumped but slowly shredded, so strategically. All Our Yesterdays' writing is something to be commended for. It's heart breaking and confronting. Raw and loving. Terrill's writing is chilling, scaring and completely beautiful.

A well plotted and drawn world with a fantastic handful of characters, All Our Yesterdays overwhelmed me with epicness. The writing was bold and raw; the world was dark and hopeful. For a debut, Cristin Terrill shows an ambitious set of work and I will be sure to read her future novels. And like I said at the beginning, read this!


  1. Beautiful review, Melanie! I am so excited for this one- and now that you gave it 5 stars, I am silently squealing inside.
    The writing was bold and raw, the world was dark and hopeful.

    <-- Love that sentence.

  2. Oh, you have convinced me! I've been eyeing this book for a while, and picked up a copy yesterday only to put it down (partly because a small strange child was screaming at me - no idea why, I promise) but now you've won me over. It seemed like a set-up I've read a thousand times, but I think maybe the blurb on the back of the UK edition is different to the US one and what's listed on Goodreads. Either way, your review sounds like it's of a totally different book, so now I'm intrigued!

    1. Thanks so much, Lesley. I didn't know that this was out already O.O Anyhoo, I hope you love this as well!

  3. I'm reading this now and, while I'm not too far in, I'm really liking what I've read. Somehow, in a couple of chapters, the author has made me really connect to both Em and Finn. It's amazing that so much has been done with only three main characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of this world, based on how you've described it. Awesome review, Melanie! :)

    Aa'Ishah @ Reading Under the Stars

    1. OH, Em and Finn are absolutely magnficent- not flawless but utterly touching

  4. I loved this book as well. Such a great story and the author has created characters that you really feel invested in. And I absolutely love time travel books. I'm still not sure what in the world the sequel will be about because I thought it was wrapped up quite well, but I'll definitely be reading it! Great review! ~Pam

    1. Sci-fi books are a hit or miss for me and this def. was a winner. I hope you enjoy this as well!

  5. Yey! I love it when a book lives up to the hype. Sounds like this one deserves to be pre-ordered, good news all around! :-) Glad this one worked out so well for you. The cover's quite Divergent-esque - prophetic or what?!

  6. I'm a huge fan of the way you described the book: "Excuse me as I adsjkl;." lol. yesss.

    The only negative thing I've read about this book is that it didn't explain the science as well as it could have to a non-science-y person, but I am a science-y person sooo... I also like how cryptic you were in your review but how easily you've still managed to intrigue and excite me about the novel. I am no fan of love triangles, but it sounds like this one is bearable for its unusualness, and the interactions between the well-developed characters will add a certain level of richness that may not be present in other YA novels with LTs. I particularly liked this: "All Our Yesterdays can also hint about another paradoxically ambiguous question, how does each action affect our future? Our tomorrows?" Sometimes, if a book is expertly plotted and highly anticipated, I wonder if it'll still have a *gut* impact. It sounds like this one does, since it's got a deeper message and theme to deal with.

    I'm on an ARC tour for AoY (heh) and am so excited now :). Hopefully it'll come soon!

  7. *eyes ARC sitting on shelf* *stamps feet wishing I could read it NOW* I am getting caught up and this book will be my reward. Further incentive to be caught up sooner!

    Your review is just gorgeous and passionate, Melanie! It really makes me want to have this amazing an experience reading the book.

  8. Great review! This novel sounds FANTASTIC. I am adding it to my TBR list right now. I've been wanting something different, and with heart, and this seems to fit the bill. I'm so glad you shared this book with us! Thank you!

    Amber @ Fall Into Books


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