Tuesday, April 13, 2021

"Yesterday or Long Ago" by Jenni Sauer

This book made me so happy :-)  It is the perfect sort of springtime book, where even when serious things happen, you have the solid sense that everything will work out just fine.  It's basically a gender-flipped Aladdin retelling, but it's also just it's own sweet thing, and I loved it.

My favorite thing about Yesterday or Long Ago is how it revolves around a friendship between two young women, Rinity and Amya, who are completely loyal to each other.  So often, female friendships in fiction get used to set up tension when they both like the same guy, or one of them gets more successful at her job than the other and jealousy breaks up their friendship.  But none of those sorts of clich├ęs happen here -- hooray!  Instead, Rinity and Amya are kind, considerate, and truthful with each other.  Sure, they do disagree at times, but "will they stay friends?" is not a plot point at all, and I loved that.

Another thing I loved was how Rinity used storytelling to calm herself down, to get herself through stressful situations, and even to explain herself to others.  I identify strongly with that habit.  Also, Amya sews, and so do I, so that was a fun connection for me too.

Both girls fall in love with men far above their social station, and trying to figure out how to tell the men the truth about where they come from is the biggest problem they have for a while.  But then Rinity gets tangled up with a shady man who claims to know who her real father was, something she's always longed to know, and everything gets pretty worrisome for a while... but, like I said, you always have a sense that things will end well, which makes the darker parts not too dark.

(My photo from my Instagram account.)

This is not exactly a sequel to Sauer's debut novel Rook di Goo, but instead takes some side characters from that book and has them be love interests, antagonists, and secondary characters here.  The two books take place in a shared universe, but can be read independently.  So it's a little bit like how characters from one of my Once Upon a Western books will pop up in later books and stories too.  I like interrelated stories like that :-)

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and was in no way obligated to review it.

This book will be released on May 12.  If you want to know how and where to pre-order it (and receive some pre-order swag!), please check out the author's blog for that info.  Even though I got to read an ARC, I'm ordering a physical copy myself because I know I'll want to reread it, and I want it on my shelf.

You can add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads right here.

Particularly Good Bits:

She fought to keep her words a hiss, keenly aware that they were in the Library and the books wouldn't like it if she yelled (ch. 4).

She couldn't just keep reading books and pretend reality didn't exist (ch. 15). 

She pushed that hope away, though she knew that wasn't how hope worked.  It was a pesky thing that had a habit of sticking around far longer than she wished and refused to be killed no matter how hard you tried.  It was tenacious as ivy and twice as stubborn (ch. 27).

She wasn't a girl in a storybook.  People often assumed she didn't, but she did know the difference between reality and stories (ch. 29).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for some perilous moments and lots of kissing.  But sweet and innocent kissing, nothing racy.  No bad language; very mild violence and peril.

This is my 16th book read from my TBR for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.


  1. That first quote has made it an automatic add-to-TBR! Looking forward to this one's release...

    1. Samantha, I love the unique, bookish perspective that Rinity has! I think you'll like this one too :-)

  2. Yessss. I love female friendship stories that don't revolve around jealousy! I'm definitely interested in reading this book! I want to see more of El and her friends, too, but I'll try to be patient ;)

    1. Katie, RIGHT? We need as many of these as we can get. I was honestly so cozy and happy hanging out with Rinity and Amya that I didn't miss El and Co. much at all!

  3. This sounds like my jam! Totally interested in it now. Lucky you for getting an ARC!

    1. MC, this is just the sort of clean, good good good book you know you want in your life :-D And yes! I don't always have time to read ARCs when they're offered, but it worked this time, and I'm so glad!

  4. I keep reading books and pretending reality doesn't exist. XD
    I'll have to read this!

    1. Skye, yeah, me too. But sometimes... dishes do need to be washed, and laundry does need to get folded, and people do need to get fed. And then we can go back to the books.

      I think you would be charmed by this book :-)


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