I'm kind of mad at myself because this book has been sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust for about 2 months. Last night, I finally decided to crack it open and read a few chapters. Of course, I was hooked from page one and became so engrossed in reading that I forgot to eat dinner. It's been a while since I've neglected to eat food and lost sleep because of a book.
It was so worth it.
All Our Yesterdays is a story about friendship, love, grief, and forgiveness. Finn and Em's lives are torn apart by the breakthrough development of time travel. They find themselves imprisoned by a man they call the "doctor," who believes they possess documents crucial to the government's time travel program. The doctor will do anything to discover the location of these documents, which includes torturing the lead characters. After Finn and Em escape their prison cells, they travel back in time in an effort to change the past and stop the doctor from ever building the time machine that led to numerous wars and the formation of a U.S. totalitarian state.
Em and Finn are in a race against time to accomplish a nearly impossible feat. Their journey is full of tension and action-packed sequences. I absolutely fell in love with all of the story's characters and enjoyed seeing how Em and Finn's relationship transformed over time. Yes, some cliched romance moments were present, but they were necessary given the darkness that looms over every page of the book. Perhaps I also have a slight soft spot for boys named Finn (Finn Hudson, Finnickin of the Rock, Finnick Odair, and now Finn Abbott).
The narrative is beautifully constructed. The time travel component was presented in a way that explains how the world came to be, but the story never gets overly complicated with the gritty details about how time travel actually works. I was perfectly okay with this, although some readers may desire a more thorough explanation. While time travel is the catalyst for the action, the heart of the story lies with its characters and how their lives have been irrevocably changed by it. I prefer character-driven stories with a solid plot, and I think Terrill does a great job balancing the two.
Oh, and the ending?!? My heart shattered into a million pieces. Apparently a sequel is in the works, which is perplexing since the conflict in All Our Yesterdays was adequately resolved and the book seems like it was written as a stand-alone. Hopefully, the sequel won't ruin this story.