Title: Yesterday is History| Author: Kosoko Jackson | Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire| Pub Date: 02/02/2021 | Pages: 320| ISBN13: 978-1492694342 | Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Romance | Language: English | Source: NetGalley| Starred Review
Yesterday is History Review
Yesterday is History sneaks into the sci-fi genre because it involves time travel. Andre is a teenager whose life was put on hold by cancer, but when he receives a liver from a donor he gets a second chance, and a bit more than he bargained for. His liver came from a donor who could time travel, and the ability has been passed on to Dre.
This is central to the storyline, because Dre meets two different guys as a result of his abilities, and finds himself falling for both of them. He has an automatic attraction to Michael, who is charismatic and talented and, in some ways, very different from Dre. He has to be, because he’s a young gay man living in the late 60s and he doesn’t have the same civil liberties or family support Dre enjoys. By contrast, Blake isn’t even easy to like, never mind love. Although Blake’s family is wealthy and he lives at the same time as Dre, he has issues with his family. Blake’s brother was the liver donor who passed on the time-traveling ability to Dre, but Blake didn’t inherit the ability from his time-traveler parents and he feels like they treated him differently. This love triangle builds to a boil, and one thing I really liked was that Jackson side-stepped the notion of destiny by building realistic relationships between Dre and both of his love interests.
Dre is a great character for a number of other reasons. It’s really refreshing to read a YA story with a teen who gets along with his parents and respects them. It’s also heartwarming to read a YA novel with a teen who has a healthy relationship with their best friend. Healthy doesn’t mean perfect, but the primary relationships Dre has say a lot about who he is as a person, and they also underscore why it’s hard for him to navigate the choices he has when he learns about his ability and finds himself caught between a family with secrets and his own parents.
Jackson also uses Dre to address racial issues, and this story felt timely and relevant.
Dre isn’t without his flaws, which is part of the reason he feels fleshed out and real. He’s compliant, and he’s gone along with his parents’ vision for his life for so long he isn’t even sure what he wants. Ultimately, his second chance and his relationships with Michael and Blake will force him to decide what he wants for his future, and who he wants to share it with.
The writing is smooth and the story flows along effortlessly. I was engaged from start to finish, and intrigued to see how things would play out. There were enough unexpected developments to keep me on my toes, and the story really tugged my heart in different directions as the plot progressed.
I want to avoid spoilers, so I’ll simply say I found the resolution emotionally compelling. This is a powerful, time-traveling love story I really enjoyed, and I look forward to future works from Jackson.
This review first ran at Sci Fi & Scary.