Yesterday

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Yesterday

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Martin’s fifth YA novel, the author pairs a solid romance and an SF premise with mixed results. It’s 1985, and Freya and her family have recently moved to Canada. On Freya’s first day at a new school, the high school sophomore wakes up feeling like her memories of her recent life in New Zealand and the death of her father are somehow artificial. She makes a few friends at school, but is entranced by a gorgeous boy, Garren, certain that she knows him. Garren doesn’t remember Freya, but after she confronts him, they realize that odd coincidences tie them together; exploring these connections leads to threats that bring them closer. A gratuitous prologue undercuts any potential surprise over Freya’s origins for readers, and Martin (My Beating Teenage Heart) further weakens the story with a chapter-long infodump. It’s unfortunate, as there’s a good deal of charm in Freya and Garren’s relationship and the fleshed-out supporting cast (particularly Freya’s mother and her classmates), as well as some well-written action sequences (and one intensely erotic scene) late in the book. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stephanie Thwaites, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, December 2012:
“Sci-fi thrillers are hot right now, and Yesterday does not disappoint.”
VOYA - Tanya Paglia
Life for sixteen year old Freya, who possesses second sight, is about to do a one-eighty. Her Dad, a Canadian diplomat, is killed in an explosion while they are living abroad. She moves away with her mom to start over. The year is 1985, but to Freya it feels like another dimension. When she encounters Garren, a boy she swears she knows and is determined to approach, he has no recollection of meeting her but reveals that his dad, also a diplomat, was killed on the same day as Freya's. With help from a hypnotist, Freya recounts a familiar past where she had a brother named Latham and a crush on Garren—only this past takes place in the future of 2063, where robots are employed over humans, virtual reality drugs and biological warfare is the norm, and the government erases people's memories using a "wipe and cover" procedure. These people are then sent back through time. At present, they are in danger of regaining their memories, but together they stay strong to face what lies ahead. C.K. Kelly Martin's novel has all the makings of good speculative fiction fused with a nostalgic nod to the music scene of the 1980s. Martin writes of a bleak future that is reminiscent of Aldous Huxley's dystopian classic Brave New World although, Yesterday leaves you wanting more details about Freya's totalitarian past. The love story that develops along with the open ending leaves the reader with a sense that this story is not over. Reviewer: Tanya Paglia
Children's Literature - Magi Evans
It is 1985, and Freya and her family have just moved to Canada following her diplomat father's death in Australia. Settling into life in a new high school, Freya finds herself curiously unsure about her life in Australia, as if her memories are not real. Then she becomes obsessed with Garren, a boy she sees on the street, convinced that they have met before. When she contacts Garren, he denies knowing her, but recognizes a picture of her grandfather as his own grandfather. Furthermore, his recently deceased father was also a diplomat. With this knowledge, Garren and Freya confront the grandfather, who tells them he can't disclose any information. Suddenly armed men show up and the two teens are forced to run for their lives. Desperate to understand, Freya goes to a hypnotherapist, who helps her to remember that she and Garren lived in the future, when climate change created mass extinctions, and cities were abandoned. Bioterrorism was a constant threat, and in fact it was a sudden epidemic that caused Freya's and Garren's families to be transported back in time for safety, their memories erased for obvious reasons. Knowing that if they are caught, their memories will be erased again, Freya and Garren are determined to find a safe place to start new lives, and vow to work to counteract climate change before the future they escaped happens again. A prologue gives just enough foreknowledge to tantalize readers, and the surprise ending ties everything together satisfyingly. Teen readers will find much to discuss in this thought-provoking story. Reviewer: Magi Evans
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—United North America, 2063. Biological weapons and global climate change have left humanity on the brink of destruction. To protect his family, Freya's powerful and politically connected father sends his daughter and his wife back in time to 1985. Upon arriving, Freya does not remember anything about her previous life. Though she feels disconnected, she has no idea she is from the future and mostly believes the lies that shape her new life. But when she sees a familiar boy on a class field trip, she cannot shake the feeling that she knows him from somewhere. Desperate for answers, she follows Garren and questions him, and they discover that their lives and families are eerily similar. When they investigate further, they are forced to run from people who will stop at nothing to erase their memories of 2063-and of each other-forever. Sci-fi thrillers are hot right now, and Yesterday does not disappoint. Featuring a psychic teen running for her life, the novel will appeal to readers who enjoyed Rachel Ward's "Numbers" trilogy (Scholastic). The oppression of 2063 is frighteningly believable; Martin does a good job explaining how the world got so horrific in such a short time. Slow-building suspense and heart-pounding action help keep readers engaged. While the story starts a little slow and unanswered questions abound, patient readers will be rewarded and will clamor for a sequel.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
A vivid infusion of 1980s culture gives this near-future dystopia an offbeat, Philip K. Dick aura. Her father's recent death and the move from New Zealand to Toronto with her mother and sister in 1985 have left Freya Kallas seriously disoriented and plagued by headaches. Worse, her memories have puzzling gaps. She can't recall her best friend Alison's taste in music or how it felt to kiss her old boyfriend, Shane. Some events feel unreal, while others (like the guys who hit on her at parties, something she's sure never happened before) don't engage her. What do Freya's dreams of living another life mean? Something is seriously out of joint, and Freya is sure the boy she spots on a school field trip has the answers she needs. Though she doesn't know his name and he doesn't recognize her, Freya, increasingly desperate, can't let him go. A thicket of exposition slows the narrative briefly, but the pace picks up, and the action accelerates to a gripping climax. Sympathetic, well-drawn characters compensate for a rather flimsy instant dystopia and rubber science. The cultural homage is nostalgic fun, from Care Bears to MacGyver. But for delivering that uniquely '80s flavor, nothing beats music. Fans of the Smiths, Depeche Mode, Scritti Politti--this one's for you. (Dystopian romance. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375866203
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 491,180
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Read an Excerpt

one

When I wake up I have a pounding headache behind my eyes just like I’ve had every morning lately. At first my eyelids refuse to open fully, and when they do the weak winter light wafting through my window burns my retinas. My brain feels sluggish and confused as I take in my surroundings: the white chest of drawers and matching mirror across from my bed; a collection of freshly laundered clothes folded neatly on top of the dresser, waiting for me to put them away; and a wooden desk with an open fashion magazine lying across it. Sometimes it takes me ten seconds or so to remember where I am and what’s brought me here . . . and as soon as I remember I want to forget again.

My mom says the headache’s probably a remnant from the bad flu we all caught flying back from New Zealand, but the other day I overheard her friend Nancy whisper, as the two of them peeled potatoes in the kitchen, that it could be a grief headache. The kind that strikes when you suddenly lose your father to a gas explosion and the three-­quarters of you left in the family have to move back to a place you barely remember.

Today is unlike the other days since we’ve been back because today I start school here. A Canadian high school with regular Canadian kids whose fathers didn’t die in explosions in a foreign country.

I’ve gone to school in Hong Kong, Argentina, Spain and most recently New Zealand, but Canada—­the country where I was born—­is the one that feels alien. When my grandfather hugged us each in turn at the airport, murmuring “Welcome home,” I felt as though I was in the arms of a stranger. His watery blue eyes, hawklike nose and lined forehead looked just how I remembered, yet he was different in a way I couldn’t pinpoint. And it wasn’t only him. Everything was different—­more dynamic and distinct than the images in my head. Crisp. Limitless.

The shock, probably. The shock and the grief. I’m not myself.

I squint as I kick off the bedcovers, knowing that the headache will dull once I’ve eaten something. While I’m dragging myself down to the kitchen, the voices of my mother and ten-­year-­old sister flit towards me.

“I feel hot,” Olivia complains. “Maybe I shouldn’t go today. What if I’m still contagious?”

My mother humors Olivia and stretches her palm along her forehead as I shuffle into the kitchen. “You’re not hot,” she replies, her gaze flicking over to me. “You’ll be fine. It’s probably just new-­school jitters.”

Olivia glances my way too, her spoon poised to slip back into her cereal. Her top teeth scrape over her bottom lip as she dips her spoon into her cornflakes and slowly stirs. “I’m not nervous. I just don’t want to go.”

I don’t want to go either.

I want to devour last night’s cold pizza leftovers and then lie in front of the TV watching Three’s Company, Leave It to Beaver or whatever dumb repeat I can find. All day long. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

“Morning, Freya,” my mother says.

I squeeze past her and dig into the fridge for last night’s dinner. “Morning,” I mumble to the refrigerator shelves.

“They’re behind the margarine and under the bacon,” my mother advises.

And they are. I pinch the Saran Wrap–covered slices between my fingers and let the fridge door swing shut. Then I plop myself into the seat next to Olivia’s, although she’s junked up my table space with her pencil case and assorted school stuff. I could sit in my father’s place, which is junk-­free, but nobody except Nancy or my grandfather has used his seat since he died. This isn’t even the same table that we had in New Zealand, but still Olivia, Mom and I always leave a chair for my dad.

If he were here now he’d be rushing around with a mug of coffee, looking for his car keys and throwing on his blazer. You’d think a diplomat would be more organized but my father was always in danger of being late. He was brilliant, though. One of the smartest people you’d ever meet. Everyone said so.

I shove Olivia’s school junk aside and cram cold pizza into my mouth with the speed of someone who expects to have it snatched from her hand. My mother shakes her head at me and says, “You’re going to choke on that if you don’t slow down.”

I thought sadness normally killed appetite but for me it’s been the opposite. There are three things I can’t get enough of lately: sleep, food, television.

I roll my eyes at my mother and chew noisily but with forced slowness. Today’s also a first for her—­her first day at the new administrative job Nancy fixed her up with at Sheridan College—­but my mother doesn’t seem nervous, only muted, like a washed-­out version of the person she was when my father was alive. That’s the grief too, and one of the most unsettling things about it is that it drags you into a fog that makes the past seem like something you saw in a movie and the present nearly as fictional.

I don’t feel like I belong in my own life. Not the one here with Olivia and my mom but not the old one in New Zealand either. My father’s death has hollowed me out inside.

No matter how I happen to feel about things, though, I have to go to school. After breakfast Mom drives Olivia to hers on the way to work but since mine is only a couple of blocks away and begins fifteen minutes later I have to walk.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2012

    Time travel, dystopian, romance, young adult those were the key

    Time travel, dystopian, romance, young adult those were the key words that made me want to read this book. Well, those words and the fact Time travel, dystopian, romance, young adult those were the key words that made me want to read this book. Well, those words and the fact that it came pretty highly recommended by Kimba @ Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

    Anyways I'm always wanting to read more books written by Canadian authors so when I found out that this novel was written by a Canadian author I made sure that I put my library hold to active so I could get my hands on this one even faster.

    Yesterday was an entirely unique read and in a book world where so many books are similar in plot it's awesome to come across one that is so refreshingly different. C.K. Kelly Martin was able to create a wonderfully unique plot line with an awesome and seldom used time setting.

    The book follows Freya a young girl from the future who is sent back in time with her younger sister and mother shortly after there is an epidemic that claims the life of Freya's brother and caused her father to be left behind. However, Freya has no real recollection of the life she led before she landed in Toronto in the year 1985. She has the memories but they feel as though she never really lived them. Despite the holes in her memory she begins to adjust to life in Canada until she sees Garren and something tells her she knows him. From there the novel takes us on a wild ride where we find Freya and Garren running for their lives trying to keep their hands to themselves and trying to find a way to have a future together.

    For me my favourite thing about the book overall was that it was set in Toronto where I was born, raised and still live in. While the book takes place in 1985 (5 years before I was born) there are some references to locations that I recognized like streets, shops and even the odd bus stop and that really endeared this young adult novel to me. I have no idea why but this city is so seldom used in novels it makes it even more especially when it is used and the fact that the author is actually from this city and grew up in the time period made the book's setting all that much more authentic and I really enjoyed reading about my city.

    The characters were interesting too while I didn't adore Freya and Garren I did like them. For me Freya was a little too unsure of herself in a lot of situations or she was too confident so it felt as though she had a bit of a split personality disorder. I did like that she was willing to get to the truth about who she, her family and Garren really are and why she things are not what they really seemed. Garren though was probably my least favourite character. I thought that he was really rude, sometimes cruel in the way he said things and I didn't appreciate the way he treated Freya as an inconvenience for much of the novel. He just didn't sit well with me even after he begins to remember Freya from his past I just couldn't connect to him. Plus, I wish that the author had made Freya and all the other characters a little more detailed I would have liked to have gotten to know them better and I think that would have helped bring the story line together more.

    The book was a little bit slow at first but it sure sped up and sometimes I was left grasping at straws because things would happen in the novel so quickly that I was left baffled and had to go back and re-read a few pages here and there. The plot was interesting though. I went into the book expecting it to be the typical dystopian book but it turned out it wasn't like that at all in fact to me this novel wasn't much of a dystopian read but I suppose that depends on the reader. To me this was just more of a light sci-fi read. I really enjoyed all the twists and turns in the plot that kept me reading. I never knew what going to happen next and what really hooked me on the book was one big surprise character in the end of the book and I have to say when that character was introduced I fell hard for the story itself and I give huge kudos to the author for adding that character in. I also liked learning about how and why Freya and Garren were placed almost 100 years in the past but I wished that more detail had been used to explain it all. I liked the mixture of romance, science fiction, with a bit of mystery that the author wove into this novel and I thought she wrote a really successful book. The way the book ended also made me wonder if there is a sequel to this book in the works because I have a lot of questions left unanswered.

    I would recommend this to novel to fans of young adult romances with a sci-fi/dystopian twist. It's a unique read and it's one that I think shouldn't be missed. The author is a fresh voice in this genre and I hope she writes more book this. I for one am going to be reading as many books as I can by this author because she's wonderfully talented!

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  • Posted September 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    fascinating dystopian with an Eighties twist

    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,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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