by Lauren Miller
Publication Date: May 14th 2013
Source: ARC (thanks Anna and Books Inc!)
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Abby Barnes had a plan. She'd go to college, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice - deciding to take a drama class her senior year of high school - changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there.Overnight, it's as if her life has been rewritten.
With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes,. When she finds herself falling in love with a boy she knows only from her Parallel's memories, Abby is in a race against time to take control of her fate and set things right without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.
Out of all the alternate reality themed ARC's I have acquired within the last few months, Parallel was probably the one I was most skeptical about. To me it just seemed like a contemporary novel vaguely disguised as if it were something more. Boy was I wrong. Parallel turned out to be so much more than just a contemporary novel.
Abby Barnes was a girl with a plan, and it seemed to all be going perfectly until she had to change her senior year elective. Suddenly her carefully thought-out career path is careening off course and leading to a life of Hollywood glamour that she never even wanted. But just as that world begins to make sense, Abby wakes up in a completely different world; a world where she isn't an actress in Hollywood, but instead a student at Yale. How did it happen? And what can Abby do to protect the life and love she thinks she really needs?
Who hasn't wondered what it might be like to wake up in a different world, in a different life? I know I have. Parallel gives us a taste of that kind of situation and it shows us that even the smallest choices can make the biggest differences. I loved following along with Abby's story and seeing how the choices of her parallel would affect the outcome of her life. One of my favorite aspects of the story was that we as the reader knew exactly what was going on in both Abby's past, and her future, but Abby of the future didn't know what was going on with Abby of the past. Sound confusing? It definitely was at first, and it's nearly impossible for me to explain. In fact I think Doctor Who can say it best:
Other than the cool wibbly wobbly timey wimey bits, Parallel also had a sort of mystery element to it (why was Abby experiencing a parallel world? How did it occur? AND WHAT DO THE DREAMS MEAN?!) and I loved it! I also loved the intrigue of alternating between past Abby and future Abby and trying to figure out exactly where the story was going to end up. It was all so much fun and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!
That being said there were some drawbacks to this Parallel. For starters the characters just weren't that great. Abby was really quite self-centered and there were multiple instances when she did things causing me to react with this:
Secondly, the romance really toed the line between creepy and cute. Lets just say it involved two brothers, an accidental break up, and a whole lot of misunderstandings that led to awkward moments.... Ultimately Lauren Miller tried to patch things up by making a broad statement about how "your path will change, but your destiny doesn't " but it still felt kinda weird. :P
Despite the character flaws and romance drawback, I really did enjoy Parallel. I flew through it, and I loved the sciencey/parallel universes aspect of the story. I've read a few books with this kind of past/future, actions/consequences set up (like The Future of Us) and Parallel is definitely my favorite of the bunch. If you think you'd enjoy a contemporary with that kind of twist I definitely think you should give it a read!
I'm giving away my ARC copy of this book so be sure to enter if this review piqued your interest! The giveaway is here.