Parallel by Lauren Miller
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.
Publishes in US: May 14th 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: via Edelweiss
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I just love concepts like these. The idea of parallel lives and how each little decision can effect so much is something that I have though about so much, and in Parallel I get to go through this with Abby. It was executed really well. She would wake up and rely on her friend Caitlyn to fill her in, and it was frustrating for her to have the gaps. She still remembered what she'd learned and the memories come back, but if it was changed by her parallel life then it felt more distant.
I was torn over which year I liked better, and it was neat to see the different aspects of her personality come through in different ways in the different realities we get a glimpse of. She has the same characteristics, wanting to be in control, stubborn, strong and smart in all of them it just comes through in different ways. I think it is so interesting how she fights the decisions that have been made and she felt like there was no control.
It was hard to see some of the best outcomes, or things that I liked keep changing by past decisions, and the people who get hurt along the way. But it is all what makes Abby develop and grow as a character, the pain and guilt and weight of experience that only she can remember. The hard times are also what makes the novel so deep and rich; the plots all tie together beautifully.
The Josh and Michael plot line was especially trying! I couldn't decide which one was the right choice, but I love how it all worked out, and how destiny and fate played out to make the right choice obvious. It added a great element to the story, and while I wouldn't call it a traditional love triangle, it is definitely something that adds a lot of tension and ultimately resolve and closure to the story. It was so romantic though, and I loved every second, and was on the edge of my seat as to what would happen and how destiny would nudge things in the right way.
I liked her character and I totally empathized with her as far as her confusion and jumbled feelings while all of this is going on. There are a few plot lines (actress by accident anyone?) that are a little far fetched, but its sci-fi and it's a novel, so I didn't have any issues with it.
I also liked the constants, her friend Caitlyn was also fun to read about. I loved the combo of super-smart and nerdy plus fashionista. It made her realistic to me. I loved how she rolled with the punches and was a good friend no matter what choices or what seeming "craziness" Abby came up with or what she'd forgotten or changed. It is a true friendship and I liked watching that play out.
There were some elements that went a little over my head like when Caitlyn and the professor were talking about sciences, but luckily I had Abby who didn't quite get all of that either, so it was broken down. I just enjoyed the ride and the time jumps, putting all of the pieces together and Abby as a main character so even if I didn't fully understand the whys, I still had a great time reading it.
I had no idea how Ms. Miller was going to tie everything up and fix the wrongs, but the ending was awesome. It left just the right amount of resolve, and while I wouldn't mind going back into Abby's world, I also know that the beautiful ending she wrote for this story would be messed up. But let me just give a shout out for an awesome standalone with a beautifully tied up ending meaning no cliffie. Great resolution, plot, character growth and swoony romance in one book.
Books similar to :(links go to my review) Pivot Point by Kasie West, The Locket by Stacey Jay,
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you want to explore your parallel lives?