I’ve been trying to pin down exactly why I enjoyed All Our Yesterdays so much, beyond that I’m a sucker for time travel stories. What I’ve come up with is that Cristin Terrill’s debut novel uses the time travel narrative to its fullest potential, exploring the nature of love, sacrifice and the consequences of both.
All Our Yesterdays opens with Em, who is imprisoned in a secret facility, finding a list of instructions taped inside a drain in her cell. The instructions are written in her handwriting, but she’s never seen them before. Together with the boy in the cell next to hers, Finn, she escapes her imprisonment and travel back in time four years in attempt to stop the evil “doctor” who built the time travel machine that was used to disrupt the course of history and create a totalitarian-type government. In order for the machine to be destroyed, the doctor must be eliminated.
Except, the “doctor” is someone from Em and Finn’s past, their close friend and someone they both loved in their past. Killing him and stopping the time machine will also irrevocably alter their own lives.
Four years in the past, Marina pines for her neighbor and friend James. Both are privileged and sheltered, and it seems like James might be beginning to see Marina as something more than a friend. Then, a tragedy strikes James’ family and he’s changed. Marina feels like she’s losing her beloved friend, but her loyalty endures.
These two stories intersect from both Marina and Em’s points-of-view, as each is faced with big questions, the answers to which mean big consequences and require difficult sacrifices.
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