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Review: Parallel

May 14, 2013

Title: Parallel
Author: Lauren Miller
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Format: eGalley

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.—via Goodreads

Sometimes you read a book and you want to love it and hug it and be it’s best friend.

That’s how I feel about Parallel.

But. BUT. I have to be honest. I read this book ON ACCIDENT. (By accident? I always say “on accident” and I feel like that’s probably not grammatically correct and something I say because I grew up in the South. I don’t know.) I was supposed to lead this group discussion thing with a high school students about the book Partials. But when I went to download Partials, I couldn’t remember the exact name and was too lazy to look it up to double check, but knew it started with a “p,” and I saw Parallel and was like, “That is clearly the book.” So I read it. And loved it.

But it was the wrong book. I was the worst discussion leader ever because I would just agree with whatever the kids said because I read the wrong book.

Except it was so right.

Because Parallel, y’all. Parallel is sososo good.

It has wibbly-wobbly time and SCIENCE (We know that I love a good science book) and hot boys and college (COLLEGE!) and lots of awesomeness and WTF-ery. It can be a bit of a mind-bender and it definitely keeps the reader engaged because—get this—the things you think you know about characters and their storylines can change. Which is just so cool. So the character dynamics are constantly shifting, as is the setting, and the year. So while there’s lots going on that you do need to pay attention to, the book never feels like it’s testing you or making you do all the work to figure out the next piece of the puzzle. You just sit back and go along for the time-bending ride.

Overall, Parallel is a fresh, innovative piece of storytelling that deftly weaves parallel universes, changing character relationships, and science together in a fascinating, frustrating, fantastic way.


*Full disclosure: I work for the General Books division of HarperCollins Publishers. This review was not solicited by anyone at HarperCollins Publishers or HarperTeen, and I receive no monetary gain or any other benefit for this review. I wrote it because I loved the book and wanted to share it with others. 

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