Review: All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill

Release Date: August 1st 2013
Published By: Bloomsbury Australia
Pages: 362
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.

Review: All Our Yesterdays is so utterly compelling and unique, it’s hard to even explain what it’s all about, but here I go.

Em and Finn have been locked up now for months, held captive and tortured for some documents that Em knows the whereabouts of. Whilst she’s locked up, she finds a note that she wrote herself - from the future. And that’s where this story starts. The note says, you have to kill him, and Em knows this is the only way. Em and Finn break out of their cell and go back in time where Em knows the only way to alter the future for the better is to kill the boy she loves.

The plot was really well executed, since we’ve got some overlap happening with the past and the future and multiple characters in both tenses. So Marina (aka Em) is our narrator. The chapeters alternate between the past - Marina, and the future - Em and their perspectives - it’s amazing how Cristin Terrill was able to write such a complex story and at the same time make it so seemless. We see the future converge with the past as Em and Finn try to kill James, who she loved for so many years.

The readers gets taken on a bit of a journey with these characters. James begins by being the good guy, Marina’s love interest and we initially really want for their relationship to develop. Finn is the annoying best friend, and initially Marina and Finn hate each other. But as the story develops, and James retreats into his grief more and becomes distant from Marina, it’s Finn that steps up, and we start to see the type of person he really is. The point that I really started to love Finn was when he let James and Marina stay at his house. He has nothing to his name, and lives in conditions that Marina and James had no idea about, but he never complains about his situation. I loved how endearing his character was, and found him completely charming. I think this is the point that Marina realises that she can be judgmental and prissy at times and changes a bit herself.

Ultimately time travel stories can be really hit or miss, but All Our Yesterdays is the example of how good they can be when they’re told the right way. We start in the future, and go back to the past, and yet by the time the story is completely over, we have a very complete understanding of what has happened from start to finish (whichever way you look at it).

This is a wonderful action packed thriller. The first few chapters will reel you in and lay down the foundation of the story (regarding time travel), and once Em and Finn break out of their cells, it doesn’t stop until the end - constantly on the run, and on the attack. I dare anyone to say this book is boring and mean it.

An impressive debut novel from Cristin Terrill. I hope we get to see more from her soon.


“The truth is, the world is a fucked up place sometimes.”

“But progress is always dangerous, isn’t it? Most of the time, walls don’t get dismantled brick by brick. Someone has to crash through them.”

Book Trailer:

What do you think?

  • Great review! I really loved this book, although I found the end quite confusing. The time travel concept was amazing and so were the characters:)

    Eveline’s Books

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