Rummanah Aasi
  I've heard lots of buzz about All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and when the hype got to be a bit much, I pushed the book further down in my reading pile in fears that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations. When I picked it up earlier this year, I had forgotten about the hype which in turned helped me to read it without any predetermined opinions. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do the same with Lydia Kang's popular Control. Please note these reviews are based on the advanced reader's copy of the books provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest opinion. Both books have been released and can be found in either in your libraries or bookstores.

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.

Review: All Our Yesterdays is one of the better time traveling books that I've read recently. The time-travel paradigms and a dual narrative combine in this fast-paced tale. The book is told by two voices are that of the same character: Marina, in the present, and Em, in the future. Thankfully, the present and future version of the girls are very different and distinguishable.
  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. Serious readers of time traveling books may find lots of holes in Terrill's reasoning, but I'm not exactly sure how the time traveling in this book works but I was so invested with the characters and the action that I didn't really mind my confusion.
  The characters definitely made the story for me. I loved how completely different Em and Marina are and it actually took me a few pages to realize they were the same person. I loved how Em was a strong heroine who hasn't lost her sensibilities and the way to empathize with others. It took me a while to warm up to Marina, as her codependency tendencies got on my nerves but I do see a potential of growth in her. The love interests in this book were also appealing. James is a brilliant monster and Finn is consistently levelheaded and appealing. The romance dilemma in this one is definitely complex. The built-in tension provided by knowledge of the world that will result if they fail makes Finn and Em's efforts compelling and the escalating suspense kept me turning the pages into the shocking cliffhanger. I had to run to the author's website to make sure there was a book 2 and was relieved to find out there is one. The philosophical question is intriguing: What price is too high to change fate? I will definitely be reading the second book to see how things turn out for our characters.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, a scene of underage drinking, and an allusion to sex. Recommended for strong Grade 8 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Pivot Point series by Kasie West, Tempest series by Julie Cross

Description: Set in 2150 -- in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms -- this is about the human genetic "mistakes" that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.
   When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it's not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren't like any she's ever seen -- teens who, by law, shouldn't even exist. One of them -- an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy -- can help Zel reunite with her sister. But only if she is willing to lose him.
Review: I picked up Control based on the tagline that fans of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld would enjoy it. I loved Westerfeld's imaginative take on physical beauty and consumerism in his series, but unfortunately I didn't find Control as intriguing. Control features a teenage scientist who struggles to rescue her abducted sister. After their father dies from injuries sustained in a freak accident, Zelia and her younger sister, Dylia, are left orphaned in a dystopian future America. They've scarcely begun to grieve when they are violently separated: Dylia is kidnapped by strangers who want to profit from her DNA, while Zelia ends up in Carus House, an underground organization that shelters people whose genetic mutations make their very existence illegal.
  My biggest problems with Control was its uneven pace and the lack of character development. The book moves too quickly when it should slow down so we can see the characters develop their relationships and their own personalities. We don't see Zelia spend much time with Dylia and we can't really feel the suspense nor the void when Dylia is abducted. Similarly, when Zelia becomes the new resident of Carus House she builds friendships a bit too quickly with others. The romantic tension with the bad boy Cyrad is nonexistent and when they do acknowledge how they feel towards one another it feels forced. Throughout the novel, Kang's scrupulous attention to scientific detail adds authenticity but also contributes to a lot of technologies that don't really make much sense. While I appreciated the fact that the protagonist is a girl who actually enjoys and is brilliant at science, I wished the author would spend some time in building the world she created. I had so many questions of why when I was reading this story such as why is gene manipulation outlawed in the first place? What caused it?
  The book works as a stand-alone, but the ending leaves the door open to a sequel. Control is another forgettable addition to an overcrowded field of dystopians, but for die-hard dystopian fans who wouldn't mind an Xmenish story line it might be worth picking up. I, however, will not be continuing this series.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, allusion to sex, and underage drinking. Recommended for strong Grade 8 readers and up.

If you like this book try: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard, Delirium series by Lauren Oliver, Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Divergent series by Veronica Roth
9 Responses
  1. I also enjoyed All Our Yesterdays.I liked the creativity of using the same character with a different name, and yes, it took me a bit to catch on too. Haven't heard much about Control. Thanks!

  2. Jenny Says:

    YAY! I was such a huge fan of All Our Yesterdays as well Rummanah! I'm a fan of time travel books in general, but I thought this one was particularly well done with Em and Marina. Like you, I was surprised at just how different they were and how much Em had changed. And James. I was just fascinated by all the questions surrounding him. Can't wait for book 2!

    And I think I'll take a pass on control even thought that cover is really eye catching:)

  3. I read and loved the Uglies series when I was a teen so it's too bad Control is compared to it yet doesn't live up. I really wish publishers wouldn't compare books to each other because my expectations just go up and the book inevitably fails living up to that standard.

    Although I probably won't read the sequel, I liked All Our Yesterdays. The time traveling aspect was full of holes but I got sucked in by the action.

  4. All Our Yesterdays is on my TBR as I love a good time travel book, I am waiting though as I don't want to get slapped in the face with a killer cliffhanger, glad there is another book on the way, the second book with underdeveloped characters would not be a good fit for me either.

  5. Oh I would have killed if I had a cliffie like that and no book 2! LOL All Our Yesterdays does sound good, but I may wait for book 2 because of that ending.

    Oh and I wasn't a fan of the Uglies (loved the premise, but not the execution) but I would pick it up in the same manner as you with that promise. Sad that it didn't live up to the hype. Don't think that one would be for me either.

  6. All Our Yesterdays has never been explained quite so well to me before. I had no idea it was a time travel book. I am definitely interested in that one. The cover never appealed to me previously. But now....definitely want to read it!!
    I'll leave the other one off my list. Life is too short to add mediocre books to my reading lists!! Great reviews!!

  7. Aylee Says:

    Good and bad here, I see. Control is definitely out of the question for me because I need the dystopians I read these days to be very original to stand out out of the crowd, but All Our Yesterdays sounds super intriguing! I do love time travel, but I wonder if I would have a problem with the plot holes... But everything else sounds great to me! I hope I can get to it soon! Very helpful reviews, thank you!

  8. Candace Says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed All Our Yesterdays because I'm really excited to read that one. Hopefully I can fit it in soon. The second book was never on my radar. I have to admit the description caught my attention but the negatives you mention sound like things I would have an issue with as well. Thanks for the reviews!

  9. Jess Says:

    All Our Yesterdays was so good ! You're right the characters really did make the story. It was my favorite read of 2013. Although I didn't get the ending

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