Author: C. K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Source: Random House via NetGalley
Description from Goodreads:
THEN: The formation of the UNA, the high threat of eco-terrorism, the mammoth rates of unemployment and subsequent escape into a world of virtual reality are things any student can read about in their 21st century textbooks and part of the normal background noise to Freya Kallas’s life. Until that world starts to crumble.
NOW: It’s 1985. Freya Kallas has just moved across the world and into a new life. On the outside, she fits in at her new high school, but Freya feels nothing but removed. Her mother blames it on the grief over her father’s death, but how does that explain the headaches and why do her memories feel so foggy?
When Freya lays eyes on Garren Lowe, she can’t get him out of her head. She’s sure that she knows him, despite his insistence that they’ve never met. As Freya follows her instincts and pushes towards hidden truths, the two of them unveil a strange and dangerous world where their days may be numbered.
Unsure who to trust, Freya and Garren go on the run from powerful forces determined to tear them apart and keep them from discovering the truth about their shared pasts (and futures), her visions, and the time and place they really came from.
First Sentence: "When I've wailed for so long and so hard that my throat is in shreds and my fingernails ripped and fingertips bloody from clawing at the door, I collapse in front of it curled up like a dead cat I saw on an otherwise spotless sidewalk as a child once."
My second C. K. Kelly Martin book has me convinced that I need to write every single thing she writes. Martin has a very distinct style. Her writing is wonderful and her concepts, at least for the two books I've already read, are entirely original. Yesterday didn't remind me of any other dystopia, a very rare experience.
Yesterday is one of those stories where you'll spend most of the book confused, unsure what the heck is going on. However, rest easy with the knowledge that you WILL be given answers; Martin will explain everything. Her vision of the future is dark and complex, taking into account various ways that humans could destroy the world. Not only that, but, of course, the meddlesome government will take charge in a harsh way to try to control everything.
I really cannot say much of anything else about the world building aspect of Yesterday, because spoilers would be unavoidable. The only other things I need to point out in this regard are the reasons I rated it down a little bit. First, there was the clunky info dump when Freya realized what was going on. I'm not sure if there was a better way to do that, but that chapter read like a history text. I also felt like her memories came back too quickly and easily. Second, the time travel aspects were questionable, but, then again, I almost always have big suspension of disbelief issues with time travel.
Yesterday made a really nice change from most of my other reads, because of the unique setting. For one thing, the book is set in Canada, taking place largely in Toronto. Very few books I've read have had a Canadian setting, though I'm a bit surprised by that. Even more uncommon, Yesterday is set primarily in the 1980s. I loved all the mentions of music, like The Smiths, and other bits of pop culture from that time period. Also, picturing everyone in the horrific clothes greatly amused me.
Freya won my affections early on. She's gorgeous, in a way that could have made her completely obnoxious; literally, everyone stares at her. However, she is completely uncomfortable with that. She doesn't try to be popular; instead she befriends the goths, and even does a makeover on herself so people will pay less attention to her. I loved that, despite her beauty, she doesn't take advantage of it nor does she deny it.
Freya has premonitions, visions of the near future. These really could have felt out of place, and I am curious about them, but Martin made them work. They did not come off as an unnecessary paranormal addition to the plot, thank goodness. I love Freya for her intelligence, her forthrightness, her courage and her anger. She feels so real. It also entertained me that in this case, it wasn't a heroine falling for a vaguely creepy, gorgeous guy who stalked her; she does the stalking, although she does have her reasons.
Garren definitely was less dear to me, but I liked him because Freya did. I still question him a bit, because he had a girlfriend at the beginning. The switch of his feelings from Janette to Freya seemed rushed and unnatural. However, I can accept it, since, though they get close to one another VERY quickly, they don't instalove all over the place. In such a stressful situation, emotions developing is not a surprise, but I would have punched everything if they were declaring eternal love for one another. Thankfully, they did not. As an added bonus, Martin is a genius at writing steamy scenes, as evidenced here and in My Beating Teenage Heart.
Reading Yesterday was a pleasure from beginning to end, a refreshingly original addition to dystopian fiction. Now I need to go add her other books to my wishlist...
Favorite Quote: "'I can't stop saying it, Garren. It's the truth. I'm not going to pretend for you. The past doesn't disappear just because you don't want to hear it.'"
"Dreaming, I was only dreaming
Of another place and time
Where my family's from"
Of another place and time
Where my family's from"
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