Yesterday Is History, by Kosoko Jackson, for Timeslip Tuesday

This week's time travel book is Yesterday Is History, by Kosoko Jackson (February 2021, Sourcebooks Fire).  It's a very readable and enjoyable gay YA romance, in which time travel serves to complicate a black teenager's life and loves.

Andre has come through cancer, with a new liver received from a young man who died in a car accident.  He's ready to charge back into his life of academic success, complicated by all the school he missed.  But along with the liver, he got something he couldn't have predicted-- a trip to his childhood home back in the 1960s.  There he meets Michael, a guy a little older, friendly, cute, and insightful as heck.   Andre has no clue how this has happened, until the family of the liver donor reaches out.  

Turns out that young man was a time traveler, from a family of time travelers.  And now Andre is one too.  Blake, the younger son, didn't inherit the gene, but his parents assign him to teach Andre the rules of time travelling.  This is a heck of complicated situation for Blake, for a variety of understandable personal reasons, and it's further complicated when he finds himself falling for Andre..

But Andre has been going back to the past to meet Michael again, and they fall in love.  And even though he could imagine easily falling for Blake, what he shares with Michael can't just be dismissed.

Andre wants to make everything ok for Blake (hurting in the present) and for Michael (hurting in the past), but that's impossible, even with time travel. And after lots of internal struggle and another brush with death, he sets out to live his best life in the present.

So time travel is a mechanism for the romance plot, and that's fine, but it's a bit disappointing that except for one hop back to the Titanic, which we don't even get to experience through Andre's point of view, there's just trips back to see Michael (and it was really frustrating that Andre doesn't get Michael to promise always to use a condom, though mercifully we find that Michael doesn't die of AIDS).  

Andre grows up a lot because of his experience in the past though, realizing that instead of just drifting along with parental expectations (in this case, medical school), it's better to find your own passion.  Believably, he doesn't in fact find his (except romantically), but it's a good message for teens regardless. 

It was really nice to read about a likeable gay boy supported by his family finding love!  So read it for that, not because you like time travel, which exists here primarily in the service of romantic entanglement (that being said, the time travel did a good job making the entanglement interesting!)


  1. I'm always fascinated with the different ideas authors come up with to facilitate time travel. This sounds like a really complex story. Interesting. Thanks for the review.

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  3. Well that's a unique love triangle! And becoming a time traveler by getting someone's liver has got to be the most unique time traveling device ever!


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