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Yesterday by C. K. Kelly Martin
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Yesterday

by C. K. Kelly Martin

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NOTE: I received this title from Netgalley.

Ummmmm... sadly, reading this book was a torture. And I truly hate saying this, but it's the truth. I don't even know why I stuck to the end, perhaps because there were moments of "Oh, I hope this turns out good after all". But it didn't. It was a complete waste of time.

So here how it goes:

The first chapter got me hooked. I loved the mystery of it and how it developed. I liked Freya's character, and her fighting spirit. But then, everything changed. It was confusing, to say the least. It was slow and boring and for the first 30-40% of the book nothing really happened. A bunch of inconsequential characters were introduced, and honestly I don't think they had any place in the story. Perhaps the author wanted to make a point (though I can't tell what it might be), but it just didn't work.

Then, Freya stumbled upon Garren, and I thought "Finally! Something's gonna happen!" But. No. More boring chapters follow, and I don't even remember what happened in them.

It wasn't until we neared the 50% mark that things kind of got moving. But we never get any glimpse in this absolutely confusing world until Freya goes to the hypnotherapist. Then guess what happens? More. Boring. Chapters. Why, in the name of a white cuddly bunny, did the author dedicate so many (like 20) pages to just droll on and on and on in a newspaper monotone voice about the world where Freya and Garren are really from? I mean, all those hundreds of facts are suddenly poured down on the reader, and it's just incredibly irritating and not to mention, confusing! I was lost in the first page, and had to just skip around till I found the place where they were talking about characters. Honestly, it didn't take me more than 2 lines to catch up to the stuff I'd skipped over. So, umm.. yeah..

And, keeping to my honesty policy, I'm also going to share that I didn't like the characters. Not one of them. They were distant to me. The way they spoke bothered me. Their behavior displeased me. And even their supposed outer beauty nauseated me.

Which all leads to just one conclusion: I would not be reading the sequel. It's unfortunate, I know, especially since putting together a book is a lot of hard work. But at least, when you're going to work on it so much, make it interesting. That's all I'm saying. ( )
  VanyaDrum | Jan 26, 2014 |
Yesterday by CK Kelly Martin is a YA science fiction that's part dystopia and part time travel. Freya wakes up in 1985 after escaping from something awful in the "not to distant future" (with apologies to MST3K). Except, 1985 Freya has no memory of what she has escaped from, believing instead that she and her mother and sister have recently moved to Canada after her father's accidental death.

What begins, thus, as a high action, in media res, dystopian science fiction, settles into being a rather drab YA angst fest set in 1985 — I suppose for the adult women who are feeling nostalgic and like to read YA fiction. Sure, I fit that bill and yes, I can assert that the details are convincing for it being 1985 but I'm not sure how all this attention to detail is going to play with the intended readership. I'm not saying that today's teens can't or won't get something from reading books published in previous decades but this book reads like nostalgia — and not a period piece. And it's nostalgia for a decade that was over for years before today's teen readers were even born.

Eventually, though, Freya begins to get her memory back. She sees a boy she thinks she recognizes — Garren. After stalking him until he's forced to give in to her craziness, they realize that something is, in fact, amiss with the stories they've both been told. This realization finally heralds the return of the long missing action.

But wait, there's more! Two thirds of the way through the book, when things should be moving towards either a resolution or the set up for a cliffhanger, Yesterday goes into info-dump mode. Rather than being filtered through Freya's point of view (as the rest of the plot before and since), the narration moves into third person omniscient and we are given pages and pages and pages and pages and pages (yawn) of the history between 1985 and the future year that Freya and Garren are from. After that were told why people are sent back in time and Freya and Garren have to decide wether or not they want to play along with their newly assigned roles.

Up until this point, I really expected 1985 to be some sort of Matrix-style simulation. There are parts where Freya and Garren are too easily found and their piece of Canada seems much too small and much to simplistic to be the real thing. Time travel, though, for me, doesn't fit.

For better versions of the same story I recommend:

"Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo" from season 2 of Phineas and Ferb
Back to the Future II
Meanwhile by Jason Shiga (a CYBILs winner) ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 27, 2013 |
A refreshing change from most YA and dystopian fiction where the protagonist seemed more grounded in her world, which is an odd thing to say about a book where the characters increasing sense of unreality leads her to discover the truth about who she is, and less angsty about friends, crushes, etc. I think her obsessive pursuit for the truth is what gives me this feeling. ( )
  midgeworld | Apr 3, 2013 |
Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.

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... ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
3.5
I love dystopian novels and was drawn to the synopsis for Yesterday. The bulk of the tale takes place in 1985. Not to give my age away or anything, but I graduated from high school in 1985. My teen years seriously reflect all that you know about this iconic time in history. Martin creates a suspenseful science-fiction dystopian and wonderfully portrayed the eighties as I remember them.

The tale begins with a prologue. The year is 2065. We meet sixteen year old, Freya Kallas. We learn about the world she lives in and her family. Something horrific happens and Freya and her Mom are whisked away. Freya wakes up in small home in Canada with her mother and sister. She vaguely remembers an explosion that killed her Dad and his secretary. They have moved here to be closer to her grandfather. Things feel foggy, but she and her family have had a flu that made them very ill. The year is 1985 and today she begins her first day at a new high school. Freya doesn’t feel right; she is suffering from headaches and cannot explain holes in her memories. On a class trip, she sees Garren Lowe. She has no memory of meeting him, but knows that she knows him. He claims he has no idea who she is, but Freya is determined to prove they know each other. The tale that unfolds reminded me of the The Matrix and Divergent. Freya and Garren stumble upon a secret and find themselves on the run from powerful forces as they search to discover the truth. This tale while not without flaws, kept me reading until late in the night.

The characters were both cliché and unique. Freya is drop dead gorgeous, all the girls dislike her and the boys ogle her. Why she is perfect was interesting. I struggled with her in the beginning but ultimately liked and connected with Freya. She is complex, and inquisitive. She knows something is wrong and seeks answers. Garren was sweet and of course *swoon-worthy* He trusts Freya, despite not remembering her and manages to keep them safe. The romance that develops between them was sweet and felt genuine. It developed slowly and the absence of insta-love was delightful. The romance takes a backstage to the action, but does contain a steamy scene or two. The men in suits gave me Matrix chills and other characters added to the tale. A woman they met towards the end of the book left me speechless!

The world-building was fascinating, despite some of the rough delivery. The prologue beautifully describes 2065, and I could visualize it and how it came to be. When we are dumped in 1985, we find ourselves as confused as Freya. The author allows us to discover things alongside the character(s). This was fine, and added to the suspense. Freya begins to remember bits and pieces in her dreams. Parts of the tale lagged until suddenly we get this huge information dump. Now, personally I gobbled up all of this lovely information but I have a feeling some of you might find this part tedious. Martin beautifully depicted the 80’s and she did it subtly. She recreated it with songs playing on the radio, clothing, television shows and speech. To those who didn’t grow up in the eighties; these nuances may be lost on you. The lack of cell phones, computers and playstation give clue to the fact that we aren’t in Kansas 2012. The story-line has a few holes but overall felt plausible and original. It is my hope that another book is coming and will fill in the gaps.

Yesterday is well worth the read for dystopian fans. Overall, I enjoyed this tale, and was swept up in the action. I could not find any information on a second book, but the ending allows for one. I would certainly read it. Martin has six distinct works published.

I want to thank Random House for sending this copy in exchange for my unbiased review.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ( )
  kimbacaffeinate | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375866507, Hardcover)

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. Yesterday will appeal to fans of James Dashner's The Maze Runner, Veronica Roth's Divergent, Amy Ryan's Glow, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Ally Condie's Matched.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After the mysterious death of her father and a sudden move back to her native Canada in 1985, sixteen-year-old Freya feels distant and disoriented until she meets Garren and begins remembering their shared past, despite the efforts of some powerful people to keep them from learning the truth.… (more)

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