Published by Harper Teen on 5/14/2013
Genres: Romance, Science-fiction, Young Adult
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Abby Barnes had a plan. Get into a great college, major in journalism, and land her dream job at a major newspaper. But on the eve of her 18th birthday, she's stuck on a Hollywood movie set instead, wishing she could rewind her life. But the next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. A collision of parallel worlds has left Abby living a new reality every time her younger parallel self makes a new decision. Forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go on her plans for the future and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally in reach.
Parallel was a wild ride and boy, did it give me chills at times. It is one of those novels you really need to pay attention to, because if you blink, you will miss something. I do feel like I missed a few things, and while this is probably not Lauren Miller’s fault, I did find it a bit difficult to keep up with the theories of the story. I’ll get into that in a minute.
Parallel by Lauren Miller is a killer debut novel. This is the kind of story that would make a kick-ass television show or movie. Can someone ring Hollywood right now? I’d like to watch it, like, yesterday. The characters were brilliant and easy to relate to (I mean, of course they are….home girl got thrown into an alternate universe, I can relate to the panic she felt, I would feel the same!), and the easy dynamic between them is nice to read.
So I said that it was a little difficult to keep up with. I am by no means a scientist. Hell, I can’t pretend to understand string theory or parallel universes, colliding atoms, and all that stuff. So I’m not sure this book was necessarily written for someone like me. It might be a book that, if I read it again, I’d understand it a whole lot more, but as it stands, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on. Longer than, say, someone else might have. But I did eventually get it (I think), and the idea that there are multiple universes out there is pretty fascinating.
I really liked that the theme of this novel is truly one’s destiny. At least, that is what I took from it. Sometimes we are given all the options in the world – in this case, Abby is trying to change hers based on what her parallel self is doing in the past – but we still end up where we are meant to be. We might take a circuitous route to get there, but we get there all the same.
Lauren Miller’s writing is fabulous. She writes with a dash of gravity, a lot of spunk and a heckuva lot of humor. Parallel is not without its more serious moments: best friend conflicts, rest-of-your-life decisions, starry nights with grandparents. And these moments ground the novel and give it that YA feel without making it feel hokey and fake. I loved the interaction Abby had with all of her friends and family…and yes, Parallel-Abby, too.
This novel is for hard-core YA/Sci-fi fans. But I think anyone looking for a fresh read will like it, and certainly, if you like novels like UNRAVELING and Pivot Point, you should pick this up.
The soul can’t be captured in DNA.
This novel was provided to me by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. The quote used here may change with final copy of the book upon publication. If you purchase through the link provided, we do receive a small, monetary compensation that helps fund this blog.