From Goodreads.com: 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.
Why I Chose It: I saw this book come up on my Goodreads, and it sounded interesting!
When I sat down to read Parallel, I was really looking forward to it. It’s been a while since I’ve read some good teen sci-fi, and a twisted parallel life seemed like just the story I was craving. Unfortunately, the book was way harder to get into than I had anticipated. I’m not even entirely sure what it was about the beginning of the book, but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I think part of it was I didn’t like the conversations that were happening between Abby and Caitlin. The language sounded a bit fake and forced – something about it just didn’t feel natural to me, like it was more two scripted characters rather than real people. (Duh. What can I say, I like my characters to sound real!)
I also had a lot of trouble with the descriptions in the book. This is a recurring trend in my reviews, because I don’t like a lot of meaningless description that isn’t crucial to the plot. The book would be doing fine, then suddenly go on a half page description about something not relevant at all. These tangents would not move the plot forward at all and drove me nuts – it was simply extra information that, while I suppose gives us more information about the character, does not serve any purpose to the story. Unfortunately for the book, between the forced dialogue and extra descriptions, I actually quite seriously considered putting the book down – something that I don’t really like to do.
Thankfully I kept reading!!
Oh my gosh. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a book turn from frustrating to fascinating SO FAST. Abby’s life get’s fractured into parallel realities. There are two Abby’s: one who is living her grade 12 year in high school, and another who is in her first year of college. But as the high school Abby makes decisions, it drastically changes college Abby’s life. For every major decision made, college Abby wakes up to a different world and has to quickly adjust to her reality.
Definitely one of the best aspects of this book is the real science that it presents. There are several parallel theories that are presented, and I like that Miller doesn’t try to gloss over how or why this could have happened – Abby wants answers. I loved that Abby was trying to delve into this science that she doesn’t understand, and that Caitlin was helping explain the theories to her. It definitely made me appreciate the book more that it presented the science as Abby tries to find an explanation.
This book really gets into how traumatizing this would be to a person. It’s almost heartbreaking to watch Abby as she tries to keep her life the way she wants it, and grieves when she realizes that certain events will never take place. She’s trying to hold onto a life that may never happen, and I think this part is written remarkably well. There is one major part in the book, where Abby’s two lives crash together, and it’s AMAZING. It was entirely shocking. There are few books that I don’t have an idea what’s going to happen – sometimes it’s just really easy to predict where the book will go! But Parallel TOTALLY shocked me at this point. I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes to process what had just happened. It was awesome.
The book gets more intense closer to the end of the book, and I was dying to find out which life Abby was going to end up with. It was actually one that I hadn’t anticipated – which was cool – but it was the ending that I liked the least – which was disappointing. This book had major ups and downs for me, because the main body of the book was absolutely awesome, but unfortunately I didn’t like the beginning or the ending. Still, Parallel is Miller’s first novel, and now that I know what she’s capable of I’m definitely going to have to check out her next book. I’m looking forward to reading whatever she tackles next!
Rating: 3.5 / 5