Author: Lauren Miller
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Your plan changes. Your destiny doesn't.
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, 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.
It’s no secret that time travel is my favorite thing to read about, but I would include parallel universes as a subcategory to that. So of course I was pretty excited to get Parallel, but wasn’t going to go into it with too high expectations. Oh boy, even if I had gone it with high expectations, they would have been met. I loved Parallel!
Abby is in Hollywood making a movie, but that’s not where she is supposed to be. She had her life planned out, all the way down to the perfect high school class schedule that would get her into the one and only college she wants to go to. Her plan got thrown off course, and now she just wishes she could be where she wanted to be, instead of where she is. Then everything changes on her eighteenth birthday.
I only read the blurb once when I first got Parallel, which was a month or more before I actually read it. So I knew nothing of what it was specifically about when I started it. I’ve been doing that more lately and really enjoy the experience it brings, because there’s no preconceived notions. This was the perfect book to that with.
Admittedly, the very beginning of the book was a tiny bit rough for me. It was a lot of background information about her friends, family, and how she got to where she is at that point, so I found myself getting a little bored. However, it’s all important information and it doesn’t go on for very long at all. Once the shift happens, though, it is so on! This is a great example of what I love in a book. It’s not told in a straightforward manner. Instead, there is some complexity as it alternates between an unfamiliar past and the present in a parallel universe. Even though there is some complexity to it, I found it very easy to follow.
I absolutely loved not knowing how it was going to play out, not only overall, but chapter to chapter. One chapter would end, and my stomach would be in knots from anticipation of how what happened in it would change what was going on in the next chapter. I appreciate a book so much more when it keeps me on my toes and has me needing to know what’s going to happen.
The story is told from Abby’s point-of-view when she’s both seventeen and eighteen. I really liked her, especially as the story went on. She’s not the most popular girl, but she’s not an outcast either. Abby has great friends, she’s smart, funny, an athlete, and is close with her family. In fact, her relationships with family and friends was one of my favorite thing about this book. The incredible bond she has with her best friend Caitlin had me in massive tears at one point. Caitlin is gorgeous, but she’s not just a pretty face. The girl is a super science geek, which comes in handy for what Abby goes through. Their other best friend Tyler was a crack up! I loved his character so much. I really liked that even though they were best friends since elementary school, he had a lot of guy friends and did his own stuff. The three of them together was absolutely great.
The romance in Parallel was done wonderfully. There is Michael and Josh, but believe me when I say that this isn’t a love-triangle. And yes, there is science talk in this, but I found it fascinating and easy to follow. The author did a great job with connection everything. I even tried finding holes and inconsistencies, but failed.
Overall, I thought Parallel was smart and engaging. The whole thing unfolded beautifully. I did not want the book to end, but at the same time I was dying to know what happens. I’m telling you to read this book! I think it’s safe to say that it will be a strong 2013 Top Ten contender for me, and I will not hesitate to buy Miller’s next book.