Ugh this was so good. I’m kind of over YA dystopia as a Thing, and I nayyyyyver would have picked this up on my own because the cover totally says Hey, You Guys Read Divergent And Liked It, Right? And no, I did not (like it, I mean. Obviously I read it). But people said good things about this and I read your reviews for a reason, folks.
So. Em is in a prison cell and fixated on the drain and doesn’t know why but eventually she steals a plastic dinner spoon and pries off the drain cover and finds a LETTER from several past iterations of her SELF and for a bit you are like, I am reading the second novel of a trilogy, somehow I have missed the first and that’s why this isn’t making sense, but you just have to WAIT.
Because it turns out that Em’s childhood friend invented time travel to Fix The World but it ended up ruining everything and Em keeps breaking out of her prison cell and going back in time and trying different ways of fixing it and then leaving herself this growing list of things she has tried.
And it’s splendidly done. About 80 pages in, I figured out the identity of one of the shadowy future figures and it broke my heart a little bit, because I was already VERY INVESTED EMOTIONALLY. And Em is yet another strong female heroine, with emotions and insecurities and also stalwartness and there can never be enough of these to suit me.
And the writing is competent to good, occasionally venturing into extremely good. There’s a moment where one character ‘stares at the floor with a fine line creasing his brow. Like the thin maroon carpet has insulted him.’ That’s JK Rowling-level descriptioning right thurrrr.
There is a love triangle, obviously. How else would you know what genre of book it was? But I liked it, and felt like it augmented the Actual Story instead of leeching from it. All Our Yesterdays is, as far as I can tell, a stand-alone and not the first of a trilogy so way to break the mold on that one.
I don’t want to say too much, not because it’s all TWISTY, but because for some books, figuring out what’s happening is at least a quarter of the fun. Maybe a fifth.