All Our Yesterdays: review + giveaway!

August 28, 2013 2013, 3.5 star books, cristin terrill, sci fi or futuristic, Wendy 116

All Our Yesterdays
Cristin Terrill
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Disney Hyperion
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

All Our Yesterdays begins with an intriguing scenario: a girl who is locked in a cell discovers instructions for preventing a time machine from being built. They’re from the girl herself. FROM THE FUTURE. Cue the dramatic music!

The story of Em, who’s locked in that cell, and Marina, who’s had a crush on her childhood friend her whole life, is a tricky puzzle, combined with an exciting mission that Em has to accomplish before it’s too late. The plot moves along at a fast clip, with breakneck action interspersed with some romance–because hey, even when the world’s future is at stake, you’re gonna notice the cute guy in the prison cell next to you.

I liked how the author addressed time travel paradox and causal loop questions, though if you’re dissecting the plot bit by bit, I’m sure you’d find some things to nitpick–but then again, scientists and armchair theorists have been debating those paradoxes for ages anyway. You’ll also have to look the other way with the ease and convenience with which certain things occur, but none of these things really bothered me,  and I think time travel makes a lot more sense in this story than it does in most. 

The thing I feel a little less enthused about are the characters. I like them all just fine, but they are all in this story to Do This Thing and pretty much just that, so more nuance and inner dialogue would have made this story more textured. We also aren’t really given much reason why the present day characters are supposedly so different from the past characters, and I was particularly frustrated with Em’s repeated inability to do what she knows needs to be done.  While understandable once, maybe even twice, seeing it happen more than that made me pretty impatient. There are better ways to have confrontation that drives the story forward without so many opportunities that the heroine just can’t live up to. Because the structure of the book is designed to deliberately mislead the reader, it isn’t really clear what Em really knows, even after you get the first of several reveals.

The antagonist is also a less complex than I would have hoped, as are the explanations for the terrible war that is raging outside the military complex where Em is being held. While I don’t need every scifi thriller to have chapters filled with exhaustive history and back story, more detail would have made the book more convincing and compelling.

All in all, I enjoyed this very much, however–it’s an entertaining book that would make a very fun action film. The first half is more tautly plotted than the second, and I did guess pretty much all of the twists ahead of time, but that didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of the book. I particularly liked the resolution and ending, but as with Proxy, I hope the recently-announced sequel doesn’t mean that the ending is negated. I’m not sure where the story goes from here, as things seem wrapped up pretty nicely–but I do know that I’ll be checking it out.

This review also appears on GoodReads. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.

Win an ARC of All Our Yesterdays!

Would you like my copy of this book? Just leave a comment below telling me why you want to read it, and fill out the Rafflecopter form. Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. See the contest form for complete details.

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116 Responses to “All Our Yesterdays: review + giveaway!”

  1. Rachel Edmundson

    I actually have read it, but I am dying to have a paper copy of it – it was my favorite book of the year BY FAR. This may sound stupid, but it actually made me cry! I just loved it. I thought it was a great story and very well written!

  2. astrader14

    Great review, Wendy! I am really looking forward to reading this one, as I always love a book with a time travel element to it. It sounds like this one is really well-written, and sounds quite interesting.

  3. astrader14

    Great review, Wendy! I am really looking forward to reading this one – it sounds like an interesting read. I am always excited about books with a time travel element to them, and I am hoping to see more of them in the future.

  4. Emily Elizabeth

    Glad you enjoyed, Wendy–even if it wasn’t amazing. Jenn just read it as well and really loved it. I will have to pick up a copy soon so I can understand what you guys are talking about! ;)

  5. Mckenzie Templeton

    I’ve heard so many good reviews of this book that I just have to check it out! Th first paragraph if the synopsis really grabs me and I can’t wait to read it. I haven’t read a time travel novel in a while.

  6. Holly U

    I’ve been wanting to read this one ever since I caught wind of it. I love time travel books, and I have to say, the synopsis is really intriguing. Thanks for the chance to win! :)

  7. Aimee Nelson

    The fact that mostly everyone gave it 5 stars defiantly got my attention!! Everyone seems to love how the book draws you in and makes you fall in love with the characters!! Looks amazing and cant wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Chenise Jones

    This sounds like a well done time travel book – which I’ve gotten really hooked to this year. I’ve pretty much only heard good things about it so I’m dying to get my hands on it!

  9. Wendy Darling

    There’s at least a dozen people on this thread who wondered the same thing, hah. I felt that way about Pivot Point too, actually–I think it would have been a stronger book if there wasn’t one. (Also felt this way about PROXY.)

    And thanks, I like hearing different takes on books, too.

  10. Wendy Darling

    Yes, I’m so curious where book two is going to take us! The author’s pretty cryptic about it (understandably so) on Twitter, and seems to imply it’s not a sequel since she keeps saying there’s no name to the series, though it’s set in the same world. I’m not sure, though.

  11. Wendy Darling

    Yeah, I think it helps sometimes to be forewarned about some things. From what you said, it sounds like this is a book you’ll enjoy despite some of its shortcomings, just like I did. :)

  12. Wendy Darling

    ALL of them have read it?! Hee. I know how that feels, though–sometimes everyone and his mother seems to have read the latest awesome book but me. But this is out now, so hopefully you won’t have to do anything as major as bridge-jumping to get to it.

  13. Wendy Darling

    Oh cool! I’m glad they highlighted this book, because I think a lot of people (and teen readers especially) will love it. I hope you get a chance to read it soon.

  14. Wendy Darling

    I’m always intrigued by time travel stories too, but they’re so rarely done well! But this worked for me overall. I’d be interested in your take on it. :)

  15. Wendy Darling

    I agree that it did feel like a bit of a checklist to be accomplished in some ways, and not much more than that. Character development! We like character development.

  16. Wendy Darling

    “Wibbly wobbly” is such a good way to put it! I think you’re right that maybe it works because the story didn’t spend too much time on it, particularly the mechanics of the travel, as well as making them travel too-too often. Understood completely on the sad/elated feeling re: second book.

  17. Wendy Darling

    Yes, I’m hearing from people that the duology was planned all along, but…I’m still a bit worried, as it’s hard to imagine where the story could go. We’ll see though, eh?

  18. Wendy Darling

    Whenever you comment like this, I always feel as if I’m giving YA scifi too much of a pass, hah. I do agree that the stuff with Finn was probably a little convenient–I wish a lot of it had been more of a surprise, too. Some of it was fairly well hidden, even though I guessed it in advance, but others were telegraphed either too soon or you get a giant clue right before the reveal, which didn’t feel nearly as exciting to me. But a lot of people seem to be blown away by the revelations, so…there you have it.

    Agreed on the missed opportunity to make James a lot more interesting.

  19. Wendy Darling

    Oh–this is the physical ARC, Shannelle, not a finished copy–just making sure you know that. The image is also different from the final cover art, though I actually like the art on the ARC better.

  20. Wendy Darling

    Time travel’s a tricky thing to pull off, but I thought the author did a pretty good job with this one. Hope you like it, Barbara!

  21. vanessa cianciarelli

    I’m excited for this book cause I’ve yet to find a YA science fiction to love, which is sad cause it is one of my favourite genres. Thanks for the giveaway :)

  22. Lizzy

    Ever since I got denied for an ARC on Netgalley, I’ve been wanting to read this book. I guess I want what I can’t have, right?

    I adore the concept of time travel, although it’s a hard thing to get right in books. Still have high hopes though.

  23. Kim

    I’ve been wondering about this book. It sounds like it’s worth a read, even if the character’s are fully hashed out. I like that the pacing is good and it’s a fast read. Pacing always important to me.

  24. Carina Olsen

    I’m sorry you didn’t fully love this book :\ I did, though :) Found it to be so so amazing. <3 Mostly I just loved Finn, lol. Thank you for sharing your honest review. <3

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I liked it a lot, Carina! I think some things could have been more developed, but overall I thought it was a pretty strong book. I’m glad you liked it, too. :)

  25. Taylor Knight

    I really, really love the cover!
    I think the idea of a time machine is really interesting. I haven’t actually read a book that as a time machine in it.
    And just to see how the writer creates a world that was a time machine. How she involves something like a time machine in a book that could (maybe) otherwise be better without time travel.

  26. Maggie

    I’m 37 years old and after taking an intense literature course last spring I fell in love with reading.

  27. Wendy Darling

    It’s a very fast and enjoyable read, Thomas–I hope you like it! I hope the sequel lives up to this first installment, too.

    And PS–we actually are going to be making the migration to WordPress soon. Shhh. :)

  28. Wendy Darling

    Oh, I should probably warn you that the copy I’m giving away has a different cover, since it’s the ARC. But I actually like this one better, so I hope the winner does, too!

  29. Wendy Darling

    Yeah, it’s a strong book overall, Lauren, I’m not surprised to see the praise, particularly from readers who didn’t guess the major twists. I’m glad to hear it was planned as a duology–I’m fascinated to see where this goes next, because it seemed most emphatically done by the end of this book.

    And yay for Shadows! K’s reviewing for us, and Paula’s going to be doing a guest post, too. Are you going to be on the tour? I’m looking forward to seeing what you and Paula come up with !

  30. Wendy Darling

    I have not seen the webisodes–should I? I rarely watch trailers and other media associated with book marketing.

    The author attempts to address time travel questions, which is something I appreciated, Christina–later on, it probably could have been looped back in (heh, looped) some more, but still, it’s more than other books have done.

    It is actually a lot like Divergent in the sense you’re saying–enjoyable, but not terribly complex in the world-building. Actually, I rated both the first books the same.

  31. thequietvoice18

    Love your review Wendy, though some of the plot may not be that tight the mention of time paradoxes and romance do intrigue me. Not to mention that reference to Proxy you threw in. Hopefully if there is a sequel it will be just as, if not more enjoyable than this book!

  32. Becca

    Breakneck action? Yep, this one will most likely be adapted into a film. With all these good reviews, I think it’ll for sure get sold at least — unless it already has. I wouldn’t be surprised. Great review :D That’s interesting that the character didn’t feel totally complex, but I guess something had to give considering the plot was crazy (or at least sounds crazy, I still haven’t read it yet). Definitely going to pick this one up!

  33. Darith L.

    I just need to read a good time travel book, and having heard from ElizzieBooks, this sounds like a good book to start with.

  34. starryeyedjen

    Hehe…I loved this one. I agree, it’s one of the better time travel novels I’ve read, maybe BECAUSE of the lack of explanation when it came to the actual time traveling and paradoxes presented. I’m sad about a sequel but also elated, if that makes sense. I want more back story on The Doctor. Funny, there’s a doctor, and time travel is kind of all wibbly wobbly in this book. ;)

  35. Melanie

    Oh sweet goodness I loved this book so dearly. I see what you mean about the characters-even though I passed by that blindly because FINN. Yeah… Finn. *stops because is speechless*

    Lovely review as usual, Wendy! <33

  36. Sam (Realm of Fiction)

    I was a bit surprised actually when I heard that there would be a sequel. As you said, everything wraps up quite nicely, but I guess I am still curious about what could happen next. Despite a few problems here and there, I’m glad you enjoyed this overall. Lovely review, Wendy! :)

  37. Tanja - Tanychy

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who felt like this about characters. Yeah they were fine and all but I just hoped there would be a bit more than completing the task. Great review Wendy :)

  38. Molli Moran

    Hmm, you’re the second person whose review I’ve read wherein y’all’re wondering really about the “why” behind the sequel. I can relate to that. When I read PIVOT POINT earlier this year, I ended it torn. On one hand – YAY SEQUEL. On the other, you wonder if a sequel is really NEEDED, and if it will keep intact the events of the first one. Hmmm.

    Also, this is the first review of this one I’ve read that isn’t totally raving, so it’s good to read a different take on it! (PS. I’m not entering the giveaway because I have a copy, so please don’t count me as an entry. :))


    Once Upon a Prologue

  39. Cyn

    I’ve been seeing so many awesome reviews for this and well it’s hard to resist a good time travel book especially one that sounds so action packed!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  40. Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    Yeah I really have no idea what a sequel would do. I mean, it wraps up pretty clear. I worry it will make everything null and void with the ending too. Really curious how she’ll pull it off. Loved this book though! :)

  41. Nikki

    I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on this book but as I stated in one of my TTT posts, I’ve always wanted more time travel in my reading! Plus, I love action-y, cinematic reads so at least now that I know to take the mechanics of this world at mere face value, I think that will definitely amp up my enjoyment.

    Love the very thorough review!

  42. unwontedchaos

    I want to read this book because it appears that all my Goodreads friends have read it and really enjoyed it, and I just can’t be the only one in the whole Goodreads world that hasn’t read it! Yes, if all my friends jumped off a bridge, I would, too.

  43. Kym

    I actually did a webinar, maybe last week, that was offered through booklist on up coming YA releases and this book was one of the ones talked about. I thought it sounded great then, and even better now. I can’t wait to read it.

  44. Rachel

    I skimmed your review, Wendy because I plan on reading this soon. Wonderful to see you enjoyed it though! Very generous to give away a copy. I won’t enter because I have my own. :)

  45. Liviania

    I must admit that I hate when a protagonist keeps making the same mistake, even when it’s obvious what they need to do.

    But people have been loving this one so much.

  46. Christina

    “You’ll also have to look the other way with the ease and convenience with which certain things occur, but none of these things really bothered me” < -- Good for you! I couldn't do it. There are only two ways that I like time travel to work, and this whole paradox craziness is not how I like it. Meh. I still enjoyed the book overall, but that was painful to my brain. The characters were interesting to me for the relationship dynamics (I particularly enjoyed watching young Finn completely fail at conveying his feelings to Marina and get emotionally crotch-punched over and over.), but the characters themselves could have used a good deal more depth. I think we’re meant to get the depth by adding past and future together, but that sort of seems like cheating. Another thing that felt weak to me was the fact that they refer to Finn by his last name for a couple chapters in the past and then he’s always Finn, all just so the reader can be puzzled. Either they call him by his last name or they don’t. James could have been so fascinating, but we don’t really get to see his slide into madness and I think that is such a shame. He’s good. He’s evil. We don’t get a hint at the transition of any of these characters really. So the half where you don’t fully know the plot is more tautly plotted? Such a good sign! ;) Wow, that was negative, but I did think it was a really fun read despite all of that.

  47. fatma shahin

    I want to read this book because first of all, I’ve read it’s sypnosis on goodreads and I was instantly captivated. The book cover is so intriguing and from the book community on blogger, wordpress and youtube – i’ve heard amazing things about this book! It’s also been on my TBR read forever and I Wanna finally get my hands on it!

  48. Shannelle C.

    I want to join this giveaway, because I loved the book. I loved the ARC. I want a physical copy. I need something I can love and hug and show off to people.

  49. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    Wow! Everyone is singing this books praises. I must read it soon. Though I’ve seen a couple of people say that had a bit of trouble connecting into the characters. But despite that I’ve seen a consistent 4 or 5 rating, which is a quite exciting. This is another author I met at BEA and she mentioned that it would be a duo logy, so it sounds like it was planned that way. I’m nervous about how it will go if this one has such a perfect ending. Hopefully, it won’t be one of those “just kidding!” let’s backtrack some of that goodness for more story. Do we know if it will have the same narrator?

    Also, off topic. But I saw up at the top that you’re going to be on the SHADOWS tour. I LOVE THAT SERIES SO MUCH!!! Can’t wait for your part.

  50. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    “Cue the dramatic music!” < -- Lol, did you watch the webisodes they're releasing for AOY? Very, very dramatic stuff indeed. “because hey, even when the world’s future is at stake, you’re gonna notice the cute guy in the prison cell next to you.” < -- Hahahahah. Oh, YA and your romance. “I liked how the author addressed time travel paradox and causal loop questions, though if you’re dissecting the plot bit by bit, I’m sure you’d find some things to nitpick–but then again, scientists and armchair theorists have been debating those paradoxes for ages anyway.” < -- Very, very true. I usually get upset when science isn't explained properly or very well, when it's just so light of an explanation that it's passed over as magic or a boring subject, but really, time travel? Well, it IS still debated so there is no one wrong answer. “I like them all just fine, but they are all in this story to Do This Thing and pretty much just that, so more nuance and inner dialogue would have made this story more textured.” < -- This reminds me of the characters from Divergent, why I was never really able to get into their stories. I'm a huge character person, so that's a disappointing aspect... “I was particularly frustrated with Em’s repeated inability to do what she knows needs to be done.” < -- Honestly? There are so few hero(ines) in YA that seem to do this. Dru from Strange Angels, Celaena in Throne of Glass. But who else? More than half the times, there's got to be a HUGE push. It's very frustrating. “The antagonist is also a less complex than I would have hoped, as are the explanations for the terrible war that is raging outside the military complex where Em is being held.” <-- Meh, I feel like this is a general tendency of most YA sci-fis with some dystopia. There's always a vague war that'll get expanded on in the sequel (so there! Maybe the ending isn't negated so much as another chance at explanation is given?)

  51. Donna Smith

    This has been on my to-read list for a while since I do love my dystopian and post-apocalyptic reads. I had no idea that it dealt with time travel, I’ve always shied away from time travel themed books because they are so rarely done well IMO. I still want to check this one out although your comments about the lack of character complexity makes me a bit wary. But then you still rated it 4 stars so I’m hopeful! Wonderful review though Wendy!

    • Wendy Darling

      The funny thing is, it was a 4 consistently as I read it, but after I wrote my review, I kept thinking–should this really be a 3.5? But I enjoyed it, so I’m leaving it as is. Honestly, the character stuff isn’t that noticeable until the last quarter of the book, and at the end after you’ve finished reading it. I’d approach it like an enjoyable scifi flick that happens to contain elements of good science theories.

      Agreed on time travel rarely being done well, particularly in YA. I’d recommend this as a library read for you, Miss Donna. :)

  52. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    I didn’t realize All Our Yesterdays dealt with time travel. Fun! And of course, you’re going to notice a cute boy in the next cell! I know I would. ;-)
    I’m really glad you enjoyed this, Wendy. Really lovely review.

  53. Candace

    I love time travel stories and I’m very curious about this one! The things you liked a little less concern me, as I love characters that really POP, but I’m still very anxious to give this one a try!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I think you’d like this, Candace! It’s very fast-paced and full of action, plus the romance is kind of cute, too. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

  54. Barbara E.

    I’ve always been fascinated by time travel, and it’s always interesting to see how an author deals with paradoxes, etc. All Our Yesterdays sounds like a wonderful story and I’m looking forward to reading it.

  55. Sesana

    This book shares a title with an episode of original recipe Star Trek. Which was about time travel. Intentional? It doesn’t have to be, since it’s also a line from Macbeth. If it is, I send the author a virtual Vulcan salute. Even if it isn’t, the timey wimey is enough to catch my eye.

  56. Luisa Benavides

    I’ve been dying to read this book, I can’t wait to finally have a copy of it in my hands!
    Great review btw! Thanks for the giveaway<3

  57. Jackie

    Awesome review! I’ve been hearing lots of good stuff about it. Thanks for the giveaway(:

  58. Bookworm1858

    I’ve been hearing some good things about this book and am looking forward to the end of the year when I might have time to fit it into my reading schedule!

  59. Keertana

    I agree completely, Wendy! I really loved the time travel elements in this, but like you, the characters weren’t as nuanced as I’d have liked. I’m skeptical about the sequel since I really enjoyed the ending of this one, but I’m curious to see what Terrill does too. Plus, I just LOVE Flynn. ;) Wonderful review!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, it will be interesting to see what happens next–I just hope she had something plotted out ahead of time and just got the greenlight, rather than trying now to find a way to expand the story. That doesn’t seem to work as well.

      I saw you rated this one even more highly than I did! I’m glad you enjoyed it, too.

    • Kym

      Agreed. I read a ton of fantasy and contemporary but I’m currently looking for more books that would fall into the Sci- fi category.

  60. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I really enjoyed this story but, yeah, I definitely got frustrated with Em’s inability to do her job that she knew *had* to be done. That first love is a bitch though, isn’t it?

  61. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    “I was particularly frustrated with Em’s repeated inability to do what she knows needs to be done. While understandable once, maybe even twice, seeing it happen more than that made me pretty impatient.”

    YES. I completely agree with that. She’d get her resolve all up and then .. nope. I think I might have yelled at her once. But overall this is one of my favorite YA time travel books!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, I’m such a JUST PULL THE FREAKING TRIGGER sort of person that that kind of waffling just makes me very antsy, hah. I get it, you’re a nice girl and you don’t wanna be a stone-cold killer. But come on now, the future of the planet is at stake. ;)

      Agreed, though. A good time travel YA book, which are few and far between.

  62. Vivien

    The premise alone got me hooked to this book. The fact that you didn’t connect to the characters, is frustrating to hear. I do tend to be more critical of books in general, but as long as the plot is done well, it can make up for the characters. For me, they can be what makes a book go from a 4 to a 5 if I love or hate them. However, I’m not dissuaded. I love this genre and this sounds like a good addition.

    • Wendy Darling

      I was actually fine with the characters until closer towards the end when I realized nothing much more was going to develop with them, Vivien, and it really wasn’t until after I started to write my review that I thought about what could have been improved. It’s a very fun book regardless, and I think you’d enjoy it anyway. :)

  63. Brianna C

    I have heard nothing but great things about this book! Having recently read The Time Machine I’m interested in reading more involving the premise of time travel.

  64. Chantaal

    This sounds like the perfect book to get away from the current trend of paranormal and dystopian romances that everyone seems to be reading and writing right now.

    I mean, who doesn’t like a good time travel novel?

  65. Chantaal

    This book sounds like so much fun, and a break from the paranormal romance/dystopian romance that everyone in YA is writing and reading right now.

    I mean, time travel! Who doesn’t love that?

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, I’m pretty tired of dystopians, to be honest; I’m more likely to have fun with a sci fi book even if it’s just okay, rather than with a dystopian book that’s just so-so. Maybe because there are a lot of interesting elements to scifi, and often action and science as well, whereas with dystopians you’re relying on just story and writing… And if those don’t work for you, you’re screwed.

  66. Bella_eternity

    Time machine stories are not very popular in YA novels, but I like to read those! This book is now on my ‘to read’ list! ^^

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, you don’t see too many of those, nor of time travel in general. I understand why, though, it’s not easy to pull off in a convincing way, but I think it works really well here.

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, I should probably tell you that the time machine isn’t actually featured in the story much, it’s more about the prevention of its creation. So just know that going in!