* * * 1/2
What would you change?
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 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, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. 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. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
I’ve told you about my issues with time travel. Time travel stories send me into an absolute tizzy that inevitably ends up with me getting into an argument with the Executive Officer about the impossibility of it all which then leads to the world’s biggest headache. So the question I have to ask myself is this: Why am I such a masochist? Because I willingly chose this story to read. I requested it from Netgalley and then the library. Twice, people. I requested it TWICE.
Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.
Or am I?
Because this book was pretty darn good.
The first chapter begins with Em staring at a drain in her prison cell. By the end of the chapter she has found a way to open the drain and finds a list written in her own handwriting. Everything on the list is crossed off except the last one, “You have to kill him.” So she and her friend, Finn, escape their cells and go back in time to try to stop the creation of the time machine, Cassandra, before it can wreak havoc on the country and the world.
This story is in constant motion. From beginning to end. Some of it was predictable. The relationship between Em and Marina was obvious (as was the identity of The Doctor) from the beginning even though I got the idea it was supposed to be a big surprise. But that didn't detract from the story or lessen the anticipation I felt as I was turning the pages. I found myself chewing on my nails in nervousness as I waited to see if Em and Finn would follow through with the last item on the list and, if so, how it would change their existence.
There were a couple things I didn't like about the story. Em’s inability to commit to her task 100% drove me crazy at times. But since that failing is a driving part of the story I can’t complain too much. Also, there is a fairly useless scene at the very end of the book that tries to explain the inevitability of the person Marina will fall in love. I think the message of hope and magic of the future’s possibilities would have been just as obvious and possibly had more of an impact had that scene not been included.
In the grand scheme of things, my complaints are small. This was a fun and action-packed read. If you enjoy stories of time travel, you will certainly enjoy All Our Yesterdays.