Yesterday Is History

Sourcebooks/Fire. Feb. 2021. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492694342.
Gr 8 Up–Andre Cobb is a Black teen from Boston who attends a private school and plans to become a doctor. He is also a cancer survivor. When he gets home from his life-saving liver transplant, he suddenly finds himself in 1969 where he meets Michael—a young, white gay man—before returning to the present. At first, Dre thinks he’s hallucinating, but then he meets the McIntyres, the liver donor’s family. They’re not just a wealthy white family; they’re also time travelers. Soon, Dre is learning more about his newfound power from Blake McIntyre, the donor’s younger brother. He also continues to visit Michael in the past, and the attraction between them slowly develops into something more. Meanwhile, Blake continues to mourn his older brother and lash out at Andre before his attitude shifts, somewhat abruptly, and he asks him out. The heft of this story is Andre’s internal journey and the love triangle between Michael and Blake. The narrative briefly touches on issues of privilege, race, and the history of the gay rights movement. Though the writing feels rushed in places, ultimately the ending is well done, and Andre’s decision to live his life fully on his own terms is a hopeful message that will resonate with many teens.
VERDICT Hand to fans of Zetta Elliott’s A Wish After Midnight or David Levithan’s Every Day.

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