Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin
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.
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 gave this novel 3.5 coffee cups out of 5.