Hey everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Kosoko Jackson’s debut novel Yesterday Is History. Did I binge read 240 pages of this book in one day? Perhaps. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Weeks ago, Andre Cobb received a much-needed liver transplant. He’s ready for his life to finally begin, until one night, when he passes out and wakes up somewhere totally unexpected…in 1969, where he connects with a magnetic boy named Michael. And then, just as suddenly as he arrived, he slips back to present-day Boston, where the family of his donor is waiting to explain that his new liver came with a side effect—the ability to time travel. And they’ve tasked their youngest son, Blake, with teaching Andre how to use his unexpected new gift. Andre splits his time bouncing between the past and future. Between Michael and Blake. Michael is everything Andre wishes he could be, and Blake, still reeling from the death of his brother, Andre’s donor, keeps him at arm’s length despite their obvious attraction to each other. Torn between two boys, one in the past and one in the present, Andre has to figure out where he belongs—and more importantly who he wants to be—before the consequences of jumping in time catch up to him and change his future for good.
What initially drew me into reading Yesterday Is History was the plot. I was looking for a book that would make me 💫feel something💫, and I’m happy to say that it delivered! This debut novel is the heart-wrenching and emotional read I needed. I was ecstatic to find that the time travel concept wasn’t confusing either!
Unfortunately though, the main character Andre was a bit insufferable. What really annoyed me was how everyone, including himself, kept on saying that he was a ‘smart boy.’ It was repeated way too many times. Aside from that, I liked that Andre was a bit selfish as it made him seem more human. I’m glad that cancer was also represented as simply a part of Andre’s identity, and not his whole entire personality. People are more than just their medical situations, so I think the author handled it very well.
“The only way out is through. And the best way through something is the truth.”
― Kosoko Jackson, Yesterday Is History
What made this novel so incredibly gut punching was Andre’s relationship with the love interests. There was one love interest in each timeline. One in 1969; Arthur, and one in the present day; Blake. The main character’s relationship with Blake felt extremely rushed and sudden. It came out of nowhere. The one in 1969 felt too insta-love for my liking, but I was anticipating it, so their relationship wasn’t surprising. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading about Andre’s relationship with his parents, and with Blake’s parents. There was something so genuine about it. In addition, his relationship with his best friend Isabel felt forced and unnecessary. She barely had a role in the story. Considering that Isabel is his best friend, it felt odd that she had little to no presence.
The dialogue in Yesterday Is History sometimes felt unrealistic. It was very picture perfect, and was too formal. Luckily, there were some moments where I pondered what was said, which was nice.
“But every time I think back on it, on every spark of joy Blake gives me, I wonder, would that spark be a roaring flame if I were with Michael?”
― Kosoko Jackson, Yesterday Is History
The writing was simple to understand, which I was very grateful for considering that this is a science fiction novel. Sadly, it felt bland at times. I really wanted to this book to be emotional because it seemed like that type of book, but it just wasn’t. (But I guess that’s more on me then the book.)
I must admit, I was planning on giving Yesterday Is History 3 stars. But my oh my this was such an addicting read! I could not put it down. If you’re trying to get out of a slump, I highly recommend this novel. Overall, it was very enjoyable. If you like science fiction, or are wanting to get into it, this might just be the book for you.
Age Rating: 15 and up
TW: Use of alcohol
Final Rating: 8.5/10 or 4.25 stars
What’s your favorite science fiction novel? I’d love to know! Have a great day, and thank you for reading!