Emily May's Reviews > All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
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it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, sci-fi, 2013, arc


I'm still reeling from this book. I finished it with that sad, hollow feeling that makes it impossible to read anything else for a while because you're still living in the book's world and still caught up in the adventures of those characters. And I didn't expect to like this book anywhere near as much as I did. It's a science-fiction book with a romance that is central to the story and we all know how well those go. But it's well-written and compelling with a very interesting and seemingly original (to me) take on the concept and science behind time travel. It took me longer than usual to read this book; but sometimes it does take me more time to read books I really loved because I tend to savour them a bit more. I find myself pausing to read sentences again because I liked them so much, or because the emotions I feel are too much to process in one reading.

Some people might be tempted to call this book a dystopia, which is fair enough because it is about a future world gone horribly wrong, but I view books about time travel (especially ones as scientifically detailed as this) to be the more traditional brand of sci-fi. Though, for me, it still carries that key ingredient that I look for in a dystopia, that key ingredient that has had me spending many disappointed hours searching through the dystopian craze for a book that holds it. It's an element I've been addicted to for a very long time. When I was eleven I read Nineteen Eighty-Four and then when I was fourteen I read The Handmaid's Tale - these two readings sparked a thus-far lifelong interest in a future world that, no matter how realistic or unrealistic, is so well-crafted and well-explained that it's impossible to not believe in it. A world that you can see happening because the author shows how we got from here to there. They base it in science and facts and politics to make it seem like a very real possibility and to make you absolutely terrified from start to finish.

This book scared me. Ms Terrill managed to convince me completely that time travel was not only real, but a very real threat to the life we know. Think about it. What could a government do with time travel? What alliances could they break apart before they ever happened? What foreign powers could they destroy before they ever rose up against them? And I know what people will think - there's a time paradox, right? You change the past and then you change the future. But Terrill also offers a very interesting and convincing explanation for that. I've always been a bit of a nerd, but not so much a science nerd until I read the scientific foundations of this story with wide-eyed awe. Maybe it couldn't really work like that. No, probably it couldn't really work like that. But isn't that the definition of good science fiction? To take the impossible or the improbable and convince the reader that it's real?

Let's move onto the characters. They are so multi-layered and complex that they jump off the page. One of the things I loved the most was seeing Em as she is now, Marina as she was then and seeing how one could grow into the other. The growth of her character felt realistic, you could easily see how her experiences had changed her and the book touches upon the question of how much people can really change. How much of our adult selves lurks beneath the surface when we are children? If we do bad things, when did we become a person capable of doing bad things? Was it always there? This is such a fascinating book on so many levels - the science-y world-building aspect, the political aspect and the characters' struggles. But, above all, I adored Finn. And maybe that's why I don't care that the romance played quite a big part in this book, because Finn is fantastic. And funny. And wonderful. And I want a Finn too!

The main questions this book asks are: if you could go back and kill a man who would do terrible things before he had the power to do so, would you? What if that person was one you loved? How easy would it be to look into the eyes of an innocent who couldn't believe they'd ever hurt anyone... and pull the trigger? Is that person even the same as the one they'll become? This book not only scared me, it broke my heart too.



And that ending, oh god, that ending. Perfect bittersweetness.
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Comments Showing 1-50 of 84 (84 new)


Brandi Dang, this looks great! I think I'm going to start it too, lol.


Emily May Yes! We should read it together, I only hope it's as awesome as it sounds :)


Brandi Yes, let's! I'm starting in about 30 minutes or so. Did you already start?


Emily May Not yet. Just going to finish watching this episode of The Mentalist and then I'm good to go :)


Brandi Ok, I just finished dinner so I'm about to start. Shall we read as far as each if us want and then discuss, or stop at specific chapters? I'm for reading on our own and discussing our matched chapters personally, but don't mind a stated stop either. :)


Emily May Yeah, I think we'd better read up to where we want and then come back and discuss when we feel like it. Especially because the time difference is sometimes a problem for us being online at the same time, lol.


Brandi Indeed, lol. Aaaand, I'm off!


Brandi Just finished chapter 3, and WOW!! What a start!!!


Emily May Her writing is so compelling!


Brandi I'm thinking James is going to be the doctor that Em was talking about.


Brandi I'm dying to know what she realized right before they leapt back in time!


Brandi Is Em Marina?! how horrible if so. :(


message 13: by Kyle (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kyle LOL, now I'm very happy that I have an ARC of this one. =)


Emily May I really loved it. However, I should warn you that it's a touch more romance-y than I normally like but I actually think it works incredibly well here.


Faye, la Patata I agree with everything, especially that ending! It was a happy ending, yet so sad as well. I actually felt hollow and empty inside while also happy with the way it turned out. HAHA. So weird! Awesome review, Emily! Loved this as well.


Emily May Thank you, Faye! Your review actually convinced me I needed to read this as soon as netgalley approved me - and you were totally right! I'm so excited to have found this book and I can't wait to see what Terrill writes next.


Jasprit Another wonderful review Emily, and that gif was totally me at the end of this book too!


Emily May Thanks Jasprit! I was genuinely shocked by this book. I don't know what I expected but I certainly didn't expect to be this affected by it O.O


Brandi Brilliant review!


Emily May Thank you :)


message 21: by Anmiryam (new)

Anmiryam I am so looking forward to this book!


Trudi Great review Emily! I will definitely check this out!


message 23: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda The beginning of your review reminded me of this quote from Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale:


"Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes–characters even–caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you."

Great review!


Emily May Thank you both! :)


message 25: by Ally (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ally Great review, Emily. This one sounds great! Definitely checking it out.


Emily May Thanks, Ally! Hope you love it too :)


message 27: by Tessa (new)

Tessa Hey, wanted to let you know that I totally agreed with your first 2 sentences of your review! It happens to me after every great fantasy adventure book that I read xP (take the new Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan for example!) :D


message 28: by Tessa (new)

Tessa I also agreed with your interest and fascination with futuristic worlds. I do as well! :D the Hunger Games version of it (*I* think) wasn't good, it didn't appeal to me as much as Divergent did :P overall, I like to hear other authors ideas on what kind of dystopian worlds they can think up (: it interests me


message 29: by Blythe (new) - added it

Blythe EEEEE! Five stars!


message 30: by Tandie (new) - added it

Tandie I wish there was a love button. Smart review!


Emily May Thank you all :) :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Amazing review as always, Emily :) I had a similar reaction after reading Deathless. While it's not the same concept (or even the same genre, as Deathless is more fantasy-based than science fiction), I still had that soul-crushing feeling after reading it, the author did such a magnificent job of making the readers feel the protagonists' pain!


Emily May Thanks, David! I've really enjoyed what I've read from Valente in the past so I'll definitely have to try Deathless - I keep hearing great things. Thanks for the rec :)


Rachel I picked up this ARC from work, and it's sitting on my shelf... I may have to read it sooner rather than later.


message 35: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I look forward to reading it after such a glowing review. Thanks for the rec. :)


message 36: by Joy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joy Wonderful review! I'm posting mine in two days as the author has asked for that specific date, but I absolutely agree with all the points you touched upon. This book completely floored me, and I never expected to love it so much!


Emily May Thanks, Joy! You're right, it was a complete surprise for me too :)


Kathylill I so want to read this book after your review


Melanie Fantastic review, Emily! I recently finished this and, that ending killed me. Loved this one as well. ;)


Hershey Fabulous review!


Emily May Thanks Katharina, Melanie and Hershey! :)


Alyssa I was a beta reader for the first few chapters but never got the end of the book, so I'm glad to see that it continued on its path of greatness because I'm still really looking forward to it. Awesome review, Emily.


message 43: by Peta (new) - rated it 5 stars

Peta Liddiard Fantastic review


Emily May Thanks Alyssa and Peta :)


Shannon Pace just finished this book, and ahhhhh! it was perfection & also the twists and the ending and just everything was perfect and most probably one of my favourite books. It was original and I feel like I do not want to read another book because this was just soo goood.


message 46: by Ari (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ari I completely agree with your review, and more when it comes to the last paragraph - I kept thinking about how in the hands of someone powerful time-travel could be such a deadly weapon, and I also tried to make myself think what would I do if I knew that someone I care about would do really bad things.. would I pull that trigger?
No wonder there were so many versions of their future selves that tried to avoid getting to that.

Wonderful review! I am glad that you loved it as well. :)


Emily May Thanks Ariana!


Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship Help needed! (view spoiler)


Emily May Stuti wrote: "Help needed! [spoilers removed]"

Everyone is confused about this, lol. I have the same feeling as you that it made sense when I read it but I can't seem to explain it when I look back. Damn, I may have to reread this book sooner than I'd planned :/ There must be an answer that makes sense, right? If not, it's pretty bad.


Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship We have been duped! Don't worry, I'm off to find the Isaac of the Newtons. Shouldn't take too long, just a few decades into the past.


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