Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

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 Thoughts

I have a thing about parallel universe books. I think they are super cool and I am always looking for great ones, so I couldn't pass this up. I have to admit that I was quite confused in the beginning as we see the "here" and "there" Abby's. It took a while for me to get my head straight and start enjoying the story. Not only are there parallel universes, but everything that Abby in the "there" universe does something differently than what she originally did, it throws things off in the "here". Lost? Yeah, I felt that way for a little while too. It does get better though I promise.

Abby ends up in Hollywood as an actress. Her meticulously crafted plans for her future not going as she thought they would. Then after her eighteenth birthday party as she's going to bed, there's an earthquake. This somehow makes the parallel universes collide. Abby, unlike everyone else remembers her other life. That isn't supposed to happen apparently. She can only remember certain things though since there is a year and a day gap between "here" and "there". Makes things awkward when she has no clue who her roomate is, or her boyfriend. I have to say that she handles things pretty well. She's a smart girl. I had a hard time connecting with her at first, but by the end of the book I was able to feel emotion toward the characters and the story.

Caitlin is pretty much her rock. Luckily she believes Abby when she tells her about what happened. Caitlin helps her by filling her in on the things that she has missed in the past year since something the other Abby did changed the way things are now. I really liked Caitlin. She was the super smart, honest, faithful friend. She would do anything to help Abby, even when Abby is selfish and not really thinking about what's going on with Caitlin.

I can't really say too much since it's really something you have to read and experience on your own. There is a bit of a love triangle type thing, but it is really great because it makes sense. What the "there" Abby does affects the "here" Abby, even if she doesn't know what has changed, so mistakes happen and it's not like she can just erase things. It vaguely reminds me of the movie The Butterfly Effect and how each action changes the present or future, except for in this case, it changes the Parallel Abby's world. I also want to note that the chapters go back and forth from her waking up as "here" and "there" Abby.

Overall I really thought this was good. Despite being a little confused and disconnected for a better portion of the first half, I was still quite intrigued and couldn't stop reading. As I got into the last third of the book, that's when the emotions started to kick in. After finally starting to connect with both Abby's and the other characters, all the changes and situations that were happening really affected me. I was close to tears at one point. This is full of twists and turns since you never know what the "there" Abby is going to do to change things. It wasn't perfect, but it was entertaining and interesting. A great debut. I will be looking forward to reading this authors other work!




*A copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

14 comments:

  1. Love me a great friend! There're so few of them and I adore when a true friend comes along in fiction (and real life). A love triangle you say? Hmhh.. I wouldn't have thought. It would make sense though. I mean.. it's not like in 'here' she is allowed to have a bf and 'there' she's supposed to live in celibate and not date at all LOL. At least you liked it even if the beginning wasn't that satisfying. I hope to readd it soon. The feedback has been good and hopefully I'll enjoy it too. Thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. The whole love interest thing is super interesting. Surprisingly it ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the book.

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  2. "Here" and "there"... DARN why didn't I think of that when I was writing my review? I was trying to explain whiz whole situation without rambling and gee- *sigh* That was a great summary of the alternate universe situation! I was beginning to think I was too harsh about Parallel as everyone was giving 4-5 stars but I completely agree with you. I also detested the unanswered questions, it's like an ongoing theme among this genre.

    Stunning review, Amy! <33

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    1. Yeah, I mean I get that they figured out the whole shift and universes colliding and whatever and I actually enjoyed the science stuff about it, but we never really figure out why the heck it happens.

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  3. WOW, this one sounds interesting. The Butterfly Effect was a mind bender. I'm pretty sure I would be confused by this book. LOL Thanks for the review!

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    1. I actually had to concentrate really hard to keep things straight for a while. I had a lot of notes that I took for this book. Usually I jot stuff down and fill maybe half or a full page. I had 2 and a half for this lol!!

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  4. Hmm...I really like parallel universe stories, if their really well-done and understandable. Through to You was amazing. Parallel does seem like a good story, despite the confusion. I'm glad you stuck it out and enjoyed!

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    1. I actually liked how complex it was even thought it could be confusing. It made more sense that it was so crazy then if it had been more simple. If that makes any sense at all lol!!

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  5. Yeah, I felt like this book was too similar. Like if I already read it before, you know? Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I probably will still read this but I will admit that I was hoping it would be better. Thanks for the review,hon.

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  7. I feel like it's always going to be a little confusing at first with parallel universe stuff, especially if it's not immediately apparent that's what's happening. Like, in Pivot Point, we're told about the two timelines, so it's not confusing. Anyway, this is like the third review I've seen talk about the great friendship. Excited!

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  8. Noo I'm sorry the beginning wasn't as good as you'd hoped; it was definitely a lot to take in, but I seriously loved this one so much by the time the ending rolled around because I was like "Forget about the parallel universe stuff; just focus on the current story here." It's actually one of the few Harper books I've been enjoying recently, and I'm really happy you did too :)

    Fantastic review!

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  9. Yeah, I was confused at times too. It was hard to wrap my head around the two different realities and I kept getting the guys mixed up. But I loved the way everything converged toward the end!

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

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  10. I have a copy of this and have been wanting to pick it up. I have heard lots of good things about it but a few just so-so things too. It looks like I might not be able to get it read this month but I look forward to reading it whenever I am able to give it a go.

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