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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Title: Parallel
Author: Lauren Miller
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publishing House: Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062199799
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


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 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 had 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 self 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.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


I love the idea of parallel universes. In fact, if we didn't start the blog, I would be over at Tumblr, creating comics mostly revolving around parallel universes (I already occupied the URL too.) When I read the summary of this one on GoodReads, I was naturally very excited. There aren't many books that revolve around parallel universes after all.

Abby has it all mapped out: go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and nab a much coveted spot at a local newspaper. So when she finds herself and her other parallel self caught in a cosmic collision, her plan pretty much gets skewered. Whatever Parallel Abby does inevitably alters with her future, so Abby finds herself waking up to different realities. With all the possibilities spread out before her, Abby must take control of her destiny and decide for herself what she really wants.

In fairness, Parallel started off pretty interesting. Abby was in location in Los Angeles for a movie, and all it took for her movie career to take flight was when she chose Drama over Astrology back in high school. But when a global earthquake messes up with the dimensions of reality and starts creating a parallel dimension for Abby, Abby's life isn't the only thing in haywire because the plot kind of weakens its initial stronghold as well. Abby wasn't immensely likable or anything like that. She was just 'eh', the heroine you have to tolerate because the whole story revolves around her and is told from her perspective. I thought her best friend Caitlin took the whole thing too casually, like, "Hey, you have a parallel self? No biggie, happens all the time." and so the whole approach felt off and unbelievable.

I was really disappointed that the novel didn't actually center around the science of the parallel universes. Since I am morbidly curious about the whole aspect and how Miller would deliver it, I was kind of waiting for a blow-by-blow account from. Miller did employ someone to explain the parallel universe existence, but it wasn't enough, so while Parallel showcases the alternate realities opening up for Abby and her parallel self, I couldn't help but feel short-changed. The novel actually focuses a lot on romantic relationships and how these can affect the others, so you can understand my hang-ups about this one. The interspersing POVs between Abby and Parallel Abby were quite confusing that I just gave up trying to figure out who's who and who-did-what. The ending was very frustrating and it just felt like nothing significant about Abby had changed. I don't really enjoy roundabout endings to my books.

I expected more fascinating science-y stuff, so I didn't really enjoy Parallel what with its stronger overtones of romance. But if you're not much of a science fiction fan and just want to dip your toes in the water, then maybe Parallel would be right up your alley. 




  1. Aaaaww, I've heard great things about Parallel so I'm sorry this wasn't for you Michelle. I have an egalley I have yet to read but I guess I'll read it for myself. I generally like parallel universes, whether in books or movies, so this just might be for me. Though I kind of get how disappointing it is when there's not lots of sci in sci-fi though I do enjoy romance-focused ones too. Great and honest review, Michelle!

  2. This one sounds really interesting. I hate it when I think a book is going to be great but it's not.