All Our Yesterdays

By Cristin Terrill
(Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781423176374, 368pp.)

Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Description

"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 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. 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.


*"Time travel done right.

Narrator Em and her boyfriend, Finn, escape from their totalitarian future, time traveling back four years to commit a heart-wrenching assassination of a loved one in order to prevent time travel from being invented and the future from turning so wrong. The future's hinted-at horrors are threatening but expertly backgrounded, avoiding dystopia-fatigue. The clever, accessible time-space treatment isn't weighed down by jargon. Em and Finn's proactive mission means the characters are the hunters instead of the frequently seen on-the-run teen protagonists. The other side of the storyline, taking place in the past that Em and Finn travel to and starring their past selves, is narrated by Marina (Em, in this timeline) and involves her brilliant yet interpersonally challenged best friend (and crush) James and his friend Finn, who annoys Marina, as they deal with a tragedy in James's family. The believable, complex relationships among the three characters of each respective time and in the blended area of shared time add a surprise: A plot ostensibly about assassination is rooted firmly in different shades of love. Perhaps richest is the affection Em feels for Marina-a standout compared to the truckloads of books about girls who only learn to appreciate themselves through their love interests' eyes.
Powerful emotional relationships and tight plotting in this debut mark Terrill as an author to watch." --Kirkus, starred review




About the Author

Cristin Terrill has a bachelor of arts degree in drama from Vassar College and a master of arts degree in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. She currently lives outside Washington, D.C.., and teaches creative writing to children and teens. You can find her at cristinterrill.com or @cristinterrill.




Praise For All Our Yesterdays

Gr 7-10 Time-travel paradigms and a dual narrative combine in this fast-paced temporal tale. The two voices are that of the same character: Marina, in the present, and Em, in the future. Future Em and present Marina run parallel courses as Em tries desperately to change present circumstances enough to alter future horror. Marina's longtime crush James, a teen genius who discovers how to manipulate time travel, intends to use that discovery to save his assassinated congressman brother. Em and Finn (her future romantic interest and James's good friend) travel back to the present to change their own and the world's fate, but their multiple efforts result in imprisonment and torture by the mad scientist James becomes. Em/Marina's parallel stories converge in a violent confrontation where characters from the present meet their future selves. Time-travel tropes may not hold up under close scrutiny, but the limited number of major players and the carefully focused plot keeps the action moving. Characterization is fairly stock: James is a brilliant monster, and Finn is consistently levelheaded and appealing. The future Em is much more developed than the present Marina, which makes the inevitable loss of one and the saving of the other disconcertingly unsatisfying. The built-in tension provided by knowledge of the world that will result if they fail makes Finn and Em's efforts compelling, however, and the escalating pace and intertwined narratives keep the pages turning. The philosophical question is intriguing: What price is too high to change fate? Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL—SLJ

Terrill debuts with a thrilling blend of time-travel adventure and teenage drama, first in a planned duology. When Em and Finn make a daring escape from prison, they use a time machine to journey four years into the past in order to assassinate the man who made temporal jumps possible and turned their world into a totalitarian dystopia. In the past, 17-year-old Marina is focused on her crush on her best friend James until his older brother, a politician, is shot. Soon Marina, James, and their friend Finn are on the run to discover who's behind the attack, while Em and the older Finn stalk their true target: James. Timelines collide, with both the present and the future in jeopardy. Terrill plays with time-travel paradoxes and the idea of destiny as her characters meet, interact, and reconvene at different stages in their lives and in surprising ways, leading to an unexpected climax. Occasional plot wrinkles and confusion surrounding the mechanics of time travel are minor blemishes in an otherwise tense and gripping narrative. Ages 12 up.—PW

Time travel done right. Narrator Em and her boyfriend, Finn, escape from their totalitarian future, time traveling back four years to commit a heart-wrenching assassination of a loved one in order to prevent time travel from being invented and the future from turning so wrong. The future fs hinted-at horrors are threatening but expertly backgrounded, avoiding dystopia-fatigue. The clever, accessible time-space treatment isn ft weighed down by jargon. Em and Finn fs proactive mission means the characters are the hunters instead of the frequently seen on-the-run teen protagonists. The other side of the storyline, taking place in the past that Em and Finn travel to and starring their past selves, is narrated by Marina (Em, in this timeline) and involves her brilliant yet interpersonally challenged best friend (and crush) James and his friend Finn, who annoys Marina, as they deal with a tragedy in James fs family. The believable, complex relationships among the three characters of each respective time and in the blended area of shared time add a surprise: A plot ostensibly about assassination is rooted firmly in different shades of love. Perhaps richest is the affection Em feels for Marina-a standout compared to the truckloads of books about girls who only learn to appreciate themselves through their love interests f eyes. Powerful emotional relationships and tight plotting in this debut mark Terrill as an author to watch. (Science fiction. 12 & up)—Kirkus

gYou have to kill him. h So reads the final entry in a note that Em fishes out of the sewer pipe in her prison cell, a note written by another version of herself whose attempt to travel back in time and prevent the dystopian future that Em now finds herself in obviously failed. Now she and her prisonmate/boyfriend Finn must break into the lab where the time machine is housed, travel back four years, and murder the gdoctor, h the inventor of the time machine. Meanwhile, in a parallel storyline, sixteen ]year ]old Marina is romantically frustrated by her childhood pal James, whose usually eccentric personality takes a turn for the worse when tragedy strikes his family, and she fs forced to partner up with his annoying friend Finn in their attempts to help him recover. Terrill makes the wise decision to reveal Em as the future Marina and James as the hated doctor early on, making this more a story of the ways in which people change under duress than a guessing game of who fs who. The narration alternates between Em and Marina, accelerating the pacing and the tension as Em and Finn close in on their target. More significantly, it allows the book to explore the connection between Em and her former self: Em fs palpable affection for and forgiveness of Marina fs insecurities and mistakes are bittersweet and heartbreaking, and her emotions will likely strike a chord with older teens as they come to terms with who they are instead of who they fre trying to be. Effective and thrilling, this will find an audience among fans of action sequences as well as those who enjoy a solid emotional drama. KQG—BCCB

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