I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
In See You Yesterday, Barrett Bloom can’t wait to start college and to begin transforming her life. After all, high school was a disaster, from becoming the black sheep after writing an article about a cheating scandal, to the shaming she suffered after her prom night went south. College is a fresh start. But her first day doesn’t go so well—she clashes with a kid in her physics class, she bombs an interview at the university paper, and sets a frat house on fire (by accident). And when she wakes up the next day, it’s… the first day of the semester. Again. Bewildered, Barrett soon realizes she is stuck in a time loop and has no idea how to get out. Her only hope, unfortunately, might be the annoying boy in her physics class.
I’ve read another book by Solomon, and it was really cute, so I was happy to try this one. Luckily, this one was also cute!
I quite liked Barrett and Miles. Barrett especially is sympathetic, as well as a little snarky and clever, but still full of faults and depth that make her interesting. Miles is intelligent, not great socially, but so so sweet. Seeing them get to know each other was fun, though I personally didn’t dislike Miles nearly as much as Barrett did at first. I think I just know how romances progress in this genre and Barrett doesn’t? Or maybe the initial butting heads didn’t come across to me quite right; I don’t know, but either way, I liked Miles pretty much the entire time.
The other characters didn’t make much of an impression on me, besides Barrett’s mother, but they were still interesting and made the world feel bigger than just the main two characters. Seeing how each character’s behavior could be just a little different, but still suited their personality, with each time loop, was entertaining and executed well.
In fact, the whole time loop concept was done well. I’ve read books that feature time loops before, and there’s always the risk that this can be executed in a really repetitive way. But I liked how Solomon approached it, establishing early that the stakes are relatively low, until they can learn more about why they’re trapped, so for now they can do anything they want. It kept their actions from being repeated or stagnant, letting them make new choices and grow. I didn’t always get a great sense of how much time was passing, but I did appreciate that things were constantly shifting.
However, I think the pseudo-science about the time loops wasn’t that great. Some of it felt kind of believable, but the rest didn’t really work for me. I don’t know that we really needed a (sort of) scientific explanation of Barrett and Miles’ situation, and the way they found to combat being trapped was, to me, extremely anticlimactic. Sure, the emotional conversation they had leading up to it, as well as the fallout and conclusion of the story were both great, but the actual act of trying to get out of the time loop was not that exciting. Basically, it amounted to a single ride in an elevator, and it wasn’t compelling to me in the slightest.
But in the end, See You Yesterday was a charming read! The protagonists are wonderful, with great chemistry and a naturally evolving bond that makes you root for them. The ideas explored about turning over a new leaf or trying to reinvent yourself in a new environment are great. I love that this is a book that’s somewhat about realizing that even if you travel to a new place, change still has to start from within. But aside from the more serious matters, the shenanigans are fun, the dialogue is solid, and the love story is endearing. It’s a lovely story of love and connection and growth.
Content note: This book has allusion to bullying and shaming of a young woman for having sex (off-the-page), as well as some mild antisemitic micro-aggressions, none of which is cast in a positive light, of course. There is also some on-the-page sexual content, but it’s consensual and not very graphic. Still, if these are topics that might affect you strongly, I wanted to mention them.
See You Yesterday will be published on May 17th, 2022!