Yesterday Is History

Queer romance with a time traveling twist builds to an affecting climax in Kosoko Jackson's YA debut, Yesterday Is History.

Seventeen-year-old Andre Cobb is a recent cancer survivor and organ transplant recipient. His new liver saved his life--and gave him the ability to travel in time. His life is thrown into a romantic tailspin when he falls for Michael, a gorgeous musician back in 1969, as well as Blake, the headstrong athlete (from a family of time-travelers) who is trying to teach Andre how to master his powers in 2021. Rapid pacing jolts readers between the past and present, giving readers the kind of temporal whiplash Andre himself experiences.

Jackson includes a fascinating descriptive aspect that grounds both Andre and readers while also adding a level of realism to the narrative's sci-fi premise: Andre makes regular note of the altered landmarks around Boston, such as Faneuil Hall. He also uses Andre's understanding of himself as a contemporary Black gay teen to interject social commentary about the evolution of the gay rights movement. As Andre moves between decades, he becomes more aware of his own connections in marginalized communities and the struggles each presents. As Michael boldly states during one of Andre's "jumps" to visit him in the past, "Being out and being proud? Being Black and gay? None of that must be easy, no matter what time it is."

At its core, Jackson's novel is a love story about discovering romantic intimacy and learning how letting love go may allow more love to blossom in the future. --Rachel Werner, Hugo House and The Loft Literary Center faculty

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