ARC Review: Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson

A major thank you to NetGalley and SOURCEBooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. 

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.

  • Title: Yesterday is History
  • Author: Kosoko Jackson
  • Publisher: SOURCEBooks Fire
  • Genre: Own-voices, LGBTQ+, Contemporary, Romance, YA, Coming of Age
  • Age Range: Young Adult
  • Trigger warnings: Cancer, Death, Homophobia, Medical content, and Racism
  • Rating:  ★★★★★

Yesterday is History takes place shortly after Andre Cobb receives a much needed liver transplant. As 46th on the waitlist, it’s a surprise to Andre that he’s the one receiving the transplant, and not someone higher up. But the transplant turns out to be a perfect match, and not much thought is given to the transplant. After all, Andre’s just excited for his life to begin, and to go back to his ten-year plan of becoming an oncologist. The same ten-year plan that he and his parents have been working on ever since he was little. Everything seems normal, until a few months later, when Andre passes out, and wakes up outside of his house. 

Except it isn’t just quite his house. It’s 1969, and Andre has no idea how he got there. It’s there that he meets a charming and beautiful boy, Michael. Just as suddenly as Andre arrived, he gets sent back to present day Boston, where he receives a message from the family of his donor: The McIntyres. They want to meet him. It’s only then that Andre finds out about his new liver’s side effect: the ability to time travel. Luckily for him, the youngest son, Blake has been tasked with teaching Andre how to manage his new powers. Andre splits his time between the past and future, and Michael and Blake. Torn between the past and present, it’s up to Andre to figure out where he belongs, who he wants to become, and what’s next for him, before he runs out of time.

Yesterday is History is a charming, and endearing fast-paced book. I simply didn’t want to set it down. From the get go, I was immediately invested in Andre’s story, and found him to be someone that was easy to root for. I wanted to find out more about why he had the powers, how he was selected for the liver transplant, and what the consequences of time traveling were. 

“You don’t owe anyone anything. Not your parents. Not society. You can take this opportunity to live life to the fullest. So I’m here to ask you: Are you going to medical school because you want to or because your parents want you to?” 

It’s always scary when you realize that the ten-year plan that you’ve spent your entire life imagining about might not actually be the thing you want to do. Just like any other good coming-of-age story, Andre is faced with trying to figure out what he really wants, who he is, and what that means for him. 

I found the love triangle to be really believable, and at times, couldn’t decide who I was rooting for, which is personally, my favorite kind of love triangle. Both Michael and Blake were multifaceted love-interests, and I kept flip-flopping between who I wanted Andre to end up with. I won’t spoil who he ends up with, but I’ll say that the romance progressed naturally and both relationships helped all parties grow and develop.  

All too often, I feel like parents have a pretty absent role in YA novels, and I was really glad that it wasn’t the case in Yesterday is History. I found myself more interested in the family dynamic of the McIntyres than the Cobbs, but I think it made sense given the role of the McIntyres with the time traveling dynamic. 

Overall, I loved how this book dealt with loss and grief, while also reminding us of hope and happy endings.  Yesterday is History was everything that I wanted in a time-traveling book, and I’m incredibly excited to read some of Kosoko Jackson’s other books in the future!

*Please note, this review will be updated with links to own-voices reviews when they are found.

Links for Yesterday is History:  Goodreads | TheStorygraph | Bookshop | Indie Bound

Kosoko Jackson is a digital media specialist, focusing on digital storytelling, email, social and SMS marketing, and a freelance political journalist. Occasionally, his personal essays and short stories have been featured on Medium, Thought Catalog, The Advocate, and some literary magazines. When not writing YA novels that champion holistic representation of black queer youth across genres, he can be found obsessing over movies, drinking his (umpteenth) London Fog, or spending far too much time on Twitter. His YA debut, YESTERDAY IS HISTORY, will come out in 2021, published by SourceBooks Fire and his adult #OwnVoices queer Romcom, I’M SO (NOT) OVER YOU will come out in 2022, by Berkley Romance.

Follow Kosoko: Website | Instagram | Twitter

Happy reading!

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