See You Yesterday is the funny, snarky, delightful and delectable new read from Rachel Lynn Solomon. A tale about reliving the same day over and over again, this sweet sci-fi YA novel is a perfect summer read.
On Wednesday, her first day of college, Barrett Bloom gets an unwanted roommate in the form of her high school nemesis Lucie; is humiliated in physics class; fails her interview for the school paper, and sets a frat house on fire. She manages to flee the scene of unintentional arson but her photo was taken and she is tagged on social media. Fully expecting the police to come and arrest her at any moment, Barrett falls asleep on the common room couch while waiting for them – and wakes up the next morning in her dorm room to discover that what she thinks of as yesterday is once more today. She’s about to relive that disastrous first day of school all over again.
Convinced this is the universe’s way of giving her a second chance, Barrett tries her best to fix everything she had done wrong previously but the more she changes things the more they stay the same. She doesn’t end up burning down a frat house but other than that, she pretty much makes the same mistakes in a new and exciting way. She falls asleep hoping she did just enough right to reset her time loop but alas, the next morning she finds herself reliving day one for the third time in a row. Only in this iteration, something surprising happens; Miles, the annoying guy who was behind her physics class humiliations, asks to meet up. And when they do, he offers her some of the best mozzarella sticks she’s ever eaten – and tells her he’s been stuck on the same time loop she’s on for the past two months. He offers to team up so they can search the physics library together and find a solution to their problem, but Barrett gives that a hard pass. She’s got plans of her own – based on numerous TV shows and movies that have dealt with this issue – to solve her problem.
After a few failures, Barrett grudgingly decides that working with Miles is probably not such a bad idea and Miles unenthusiastically condescends to a mixture of scientific and theatrical approaches in the hopes that by covering all their bases, they will be able to find a way out of their dilemma. Soon, they’re learning way more about physics than Barrett ever intended to and creating “fuck it” lists to make sure they are getting the most out of their possibly endless day. It’s not long before these two loners find the time gods have been good to them – they are perfect for each other in just about every way. But will they remember that if they ever manage to make it to Thursday?
This book is an absolutely charming teen romance. Barrett is the perfect everywoman – unruly hair, pudgy and bright but not brilliant, diligent but not an overachiever. I loved that she doesn’t have that perfect high school experience so popular on Disney+ with amazing besties and tons of fun adventures. In fact, her teenage experiences, from some nasty sex shaming to having been a loner not by choice but by ostracism, are the heavy in an otherwise light book. The author handles this beautifully, giving us just enough emotion from the past to make us understand how serious this was for Barrett while still letting her awesome strength and passion prove to us that these things hurt her but in no way defeated her. Barrett is an amazing protagonist, the kind of person we all hope to know in real life.
Miles is also amazing; he’s a nerdy boy with hidden depths that reminded me of so many guys I knew in college. I loved that he isn’t gorgeous but that familiarity makes him incredibly attractive to Barrett, and I loved that Barrett helps him to unwind, relax a bit and become the best version of himself. Miles is incredibly smart but initially, that makes him a bit of a jerk (although in fairness, who wouldn’t be, after being stuck in a time loop alone for months?) Barrett calls him on that and he changes – in fact, both of them help each other over their social awkwardness. It’s not that they become popular and fun and charming overnight so much as that by being together and growing through their experiences, they learn how to be comfortable enough and confident enough to be their true selves and accept rejection as well as acceptance from others.
Solomon brings an amazing amount of diversity to what is, essentially, a story about only two people. Both Miles and Barrett are Jewish, with Miles also being Japanese on his mother’s side. The author does a great job of making this more than just window dressing; I loved how they celebrate a Wednesday Sabat because they fear they will never get to Friday. Barrett is plus-sized; her mother is bisexual and about to marry the woman of her dreams. Miles’s family is as in touch with their Japanese roots as their Jewish ones, especially his brother Max. I appreciated that neither of these kids comes from perfect backgrounds but neither are they from completely horrible home situations either. Their lives are the lived reality of most of us – imperfect homes filled with imperfect love and people just trying to work out how to be family.
The love story is more sweet than hot; it’s very much about relationship building and I would label the love scenes in the book as subtle. I’d say it’s appropriate for middle school and above.
Not so much a flaw but a limitation is the fact that this book reads like exactly what it is – young adult fiction. While I am a YA reader (I wouldn’t have requested the book otherwise) some stories transcend their genres and others don’t and this seems like a ‘don’t’ to me. Miles and Barrett (especially Barrett) spend their days like teens would and readers who don’t get into that won’t want to read this book. It’s not much of a sci-fi story either – there’s no deep exploration of what it would mean to be stuck in a time loop, it’s mostly about Miles and Barrett falling in love and how their friendship/love impacts their growth as people.
If you are a fan of YA contemporary romance See You Yesterday is a must-buy. It’s everything these stories should be and I can’t recommend it strongly enough to that audience
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