Title: Yesterday is History
Author: Kosoko Jackson
Genres: SciFi, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Review Copy: Purchased
Availability: Available now
Summary: 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.
Review: I’ve been reading a lot of epic fantasy and romance lately so this novel was a change of pace for me. It wasn’t all “save the world from the apocalypse” nor was it “will they, won’t they” kind of drama that captures the reader’s attention. Yesterday is History is what I would call a quiet SciFi book in that it focuses more on character growth with a splash of the fantastical. I feel like the theme of “people are in your life only for a moment for a reason” is timely as relationships, especially in that transition from high school to college, tend to change greatly. In addition, the novel explores grief and the toll it can take on a family.
Andre Cobb has essentially been given a second chance at life as he has a new liver due to cancer. He had his life planned out before cancer threw that plan out the window, but with his new liver, Andre is beginning to question what he wants in life. His parents believe he is still on the path to becoming a doctor but Andre is not so sure. Then he time travels and meets Michael. Michael’s family situation is the opposite of Andre’s but the two end of bonding with Michael challenging Andre on what he wants for his life. Their relationship is sweet, but we don’t get to see it build as Jackson only shows us their poignant moments. I think this was done in such a way because we logically know Andre and Michael’s relationship could never work due to Michael living in 1969. However, the value of their short relationship, despite having no future, is that both are changed greatly by the other. And to me, that is the heart of the story. Conversely, Andre and Blake’s relationship is tense based on Blake’s grief at his brother’s death than to be confronted with the person whom has his brother’s liver and talent at time travel. The two challenge each other in different ways but ultimately get to know each other and are changed as well.
Yesterday is History is one of those science fiction novels where the science fiction is second to the relationships between the characters and the emotional journey that the protagonist goes on. While I love “sciencey” sci-fi stories, these type of stories I love even more and Kosoko Jackson has done a helluva job with getting this sci-fi story just right.