Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

June 3, 2013 Reviews 11 ★★★★

ParallelTitle: Parallel

Author: Lauren Miller

Publisher:  Harper Teen

Release Date: May 14, 2013
Pages: 432, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 4.1 stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

MY TAKE

This is a difficult book to review.  If I was only reviewing the last 100 pages of the book (the last quarter or so of the book), I would easily give it 4.5 stars.  The problem is, it took me 330 pages before I was really in love.

The description of the book (up above from Goodreads) does a pretty good job of explaining the general plot.  Abby isn’t really liking her life all that much – until the day when it all changes suddenly and she’s the only one who remembers that life.  It turns out that her universe has collided with a parallel universe and she is now living the future that her parallel self creates, not her own.  Everyone else’s lives are changing because of this too, but Abby is the only one who remembers her original life.  So, she (along with her best friend Caitlin) has to try to figure out how to live in this new reality.  At first, it’s not so bad.  In fact, Abby likes her new life a bit better than the original life that she was living – especially when she meets Michael, who she feels an instant connection to.  The only problem is, Abby lives her life in fear, knowing that at any time, her parallel self can make a decision that will change her current life drastically and she has no way of stopping it.  This is all explained thoroughly and in scientific detail in the book, which I really liked. I feel like I can’t do it justice  in this review, but rest assured that it all makes a confusing sort of sense and, while there are still questions about how it would all work, it seems plausible.

My problem with the first part of the book was that I was having a bit of trouble connecting to the two Abby’s and their circumstances.  The book flips back and forth between Parallel Abby (in the past) and Real Abby (for lack of a better name for her – they are actually both real, but we identify with this Abby more as the real Abby because it’s her story that we’re truly following).  We get a chapter where we find out what happens to Real Abby and then we get a chapter where we follow Parallel Abby and see a choice that she makes that (sometimes drastically) changes Real Abby’s life.  Then, we go back to Real Abby to see the fallout and to find out how she deals with it.  While the parallel universe storyline is really intriguing, I wasn’t quite as intrigued with the Abby’s everyday lives – especially Parallel Abby’s and especially for the first half of the book.  About midway through the book, the effects of Parallel Abby’s choices become more drastic and the stakes get higher.  

Unfortunately, I just didn’t always even particularly like Parallel Abby all that much for the first half of the book (although I did like Real Abby) – I found myself frustrated with her self-centered and juvenile behavior and I didn’t really care whether or not she got together with her love interest, the boyishly cute and somewhat geeky Josh.  One thing that I did love was the friendship between both Abby’s and Caitlin – they were true BFF’s in every sense of the word and I loved that nothing could keep them apart (at least in the long run) in either universe.  I loved this friendship even when the love interests were leaving me cold.

Then, 3/4 of the way through the book, everything changes as the two worlds collide.  This is where it gets really good.  Suddenly, I found myself truly caring about what happened to both Abby’s and I was definitely invested in who Real Abby ended up with.  There was a sense of urgency that had been missing from the rest of the book and I found myself wondering how Abby would ever find a way to live her own life.  The ending was surprising and very satisfying (although there was a little part of me that thought it was slightly convenient – but I can’t say how without spoiling what happens in the end – if you’re interested in my thoughts on this and you’ve read the book already then go to my Goodreads review and view the spoiler toward the end).

So, my overall impression of the book was that it was really good.  Not amazing, but I’m still definitely glad I read it.  I loved the concept and the science angle on parallel universes and I loved how it all got tied together in the last quarter of the book.  So, I would recommend this one – 3.5/5 Stars.

 

11 Responses to “Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller”

  1. Jessica Leigh

    I won’t lie. I read the ending and screamed. Literally. I was pretty torn up about it myself. I really enjoyed this book, but I was like you- I had trouble connecting the two Abby’s. It definitely took some getting used to between all the flipping back and forth.

    • Nicole Hewitt

      I actually just about screamed too – not at the end, but on page 330 (where the two worlds collide). My feelings were so jumbled up at that point that I just had to put the book down for a minute. But, not for long – I had to find out what happened!

    • Nicole Hewitt

      Yes, I think the book is definitely worth reading, but I had high hopes that weren’t quite met (until the last quarter of the book, which I loved).

  2. Jaime Lester

    I am confused about what to think about Parallel. I have heard so many mixed opinions about it, and I honestly have no clue which camp I would fall in. I think that it is a book that I would like to read, and at least give it a shot on my own!

    • Nicole Hewitt

      Yes, I had seen mixed reviews before I read it too. I really fell in love with the concept and had very high hopes for the book. I had a hard time reviewing this one because I ended up really loving it, but it took me 3/4 of the book to get to that point. Still definitely worth reading, though as there are some others who loved the whole thing!

  3. AmelArmeliana

    I love the cover of this book and I like the story. Well, maybe the story doesn’t as good as I imagined, but still already on my TBR list and I’ll read it soon.
    Thanks for your review 🙂

  4. John Smith

    A cosmic collision of parallel universes: I don’t know, that sounds pretty sci-fi to me!

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