Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Published: May 14th, 2013 (HarperTeen)
Pages: 432
Rating: 4/5
Source: Library
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking 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, miles from where she wants to be, 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 past 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 that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.
As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan 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 within reach. [Description from Amazon]
I was really intrigued with the idea of this book when I first heard of it, because the concept of parallel worlds isn’t used much in YA literature. Or any type of literature, as far as I know. Of course, we Whovians are somewhat familiar with it, as the writers of Doctor Who have meddled in it occasionally. Still, I was super eager to see how it was approached in this book.
Now that I’ve read it, I have to say that it was kind of confusing. Not the parallel world aspect, necessarily, but rather the switches between Abby’s life and her parallel’s life. It all got a little muddled for me when Abby’s parallel would make a decision that would affect Abby’s life, yet because Abby’s parallel was a year behind, it changed things the next day for Abby, and so on and so forth. It was hard to keep up with, the dates and consequences of different actions and all that. In the end, it all started to make more sense, but there were definitely times when I was utterly lost in the science of it all. If it weren’t for the help of Abby’s smart-pants friend Caitlin, who always ended up explaining away the confusion (not only for Abby but for me as well!), I’m not sure what type of review I’d be writing right now.
I feel like this book does a fantastic job of showing how our actions can have long-lasting consequences. Our actions today affect our tomorrow, and that’s something Abby really had to come to terms with. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out all peachy for us like it did for Abby.
So I know I’ve harp on this issue way too much recently (at least it seems that way), but here I go again. High school drama. I’m sick of it. No more, please. While I didn’t like that aspect of the book, I almost feel like it was poked fun at in Parallel. I mean, a drawing for a parking space in the school parking lot? How can you *not* laugh at that? Also, because of the year-long gap between Abby and her parallel, it was almost like she was in high school and college at the same time. I enjoyed the entrance into college life (without having all the NA sexual mess and language). I wish more YA books would be college-geared while leaving out all the mature content.
One thing that kind of irked me was the way the author casually threw in some “God” stuff. It didn’t really contribute to the novel. I’m not saying it should have been left out, but the way it was used seemed contradictory and pointless. For example: Abby and Michael are at his apartment, drinking beer (illegally, for the record) and Michael starts cracking some suggestive comments. Next thing ya know, he’s taking her to some candle-lit church service. Um, what? If you’re going to include God in all this, let’s do it respectfully and whole-heartedly, shall we? Either that or not at all.
Ok, now for something I absolutely loved. Abby + Josh. Ohmigosh, guys. Cutest romance ever! It wasn’t insta-love. It wasn’t hot and romantic. It was cute, somewhat awkward, and totally realistic. I loved their relationship to pieces…and Josh was so adorable in that geeky-but-attractive way. *sigh* More, please!
Another thing I liked was Caitlin’s and Abby’s relationship. They were such close friends, and it almost torn my heart apart when they had their big fight. They had the friendship we all wish for, and it was great seeing that come to life in a YA book.
So long story short, I loved Parallel just as much as I thought I would. There were some things that confused or irritated me, but no book is perfect, right? Except maybe the one I’ll write someday (*wink*).
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild (Abby seems to have some moral standards when it comes to sex, though there are some mentions/suggestions of sexual situations)


  1. This sounds interesting. I guess I would grab this book and read it this coming weekends!

    Ann@Blogging E-books

  2. Awesome! Sounds like I'll be heading back to the library to pick this up soon! :)


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