Book Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller


Young Adult, cost  Contemporary, Science Fiction (I know, its weird)



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Release Date: 

May 14th, 2013

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GoodReads Summary:

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 Review:

As soon as I finished Lauren Miller’s Free to Fall, I knew I had to get my hands on Parallel. I had no idea what it was about but that doesn’t even matter. Free to Fall was creepy and futuristic and incredible and I didn’t have to be worried about being attached to multiple books. I like that. I had to wait until the Girls Gone Sci-Fi event in Redondo though, so I could support the bookstore and all that.

A couple days ago, I was stuck in bed, and usually when that happens, I read. I read Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo because it was its release day and I was dying to find out what happened next in Leigh’s epic fantasy monstrosity of a great trilogy. I finished that fairly quickly (more on that later) and decided to pick up Parallel.

I fully intended to read some of it and then go to sleep like a completely normal person but I didn’t. I broke that intention so quickly because I literally could not put down this book. I finished it at 3 a.m.

Abby is living her life, making a movie in Los Angeles, and she’s wondering how on earth she got to this point, when two parallel worlds collide, and she’s in an alternate reality of her life. There was an earthquake a year previously, the collision, which caused her parallel self to take over her life. Each day that Abby wakes up could be a completely different story because of the decisions and paths that her parallel self takes in the path. It sounds a little confusing and it was for me at first, but you quickly understand as you watch it unfold. It reminded me a bit of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, where one decision could change the course of events in the future.

And that’s what gets you so tied into it. You honestly have no idea what is going to happen next. Younger, parallel Abby is making such different decisions from the ones that Abby originally made and its putting her into very confusing situations. She’s both happy and unhappy with the different life that she’s living. Its addicting. Each move that her parallel self makes could create a completely different reality the next day. You literally cannot guess where the future is going. You literally cannot predict how the story is going to go and that is incredibly addicting.

I want Abby to be with this guy, but parallel Abby is with another guy and I love him too, and Abby misses cross country and acting but parallel Abby has become part of a crew team and its just crazy. You’re so torn between these two characters, and they are the same person. You want them to work toward the same goal and its not happening. Its so frustrating and I thought about closing the book, and finishing it the next day. But I could not stop it. I had to keep reading.

And the ending! It was beautiful and crazy and I wanted to throw the book across the room and I tweeted that to Lauren because I couldn’t believe she could end the book that way, and then she tweeted me, made me feel better about it. Now that I’ve thought about what Lauren said, and reread the last chapter, I am very happy with the ending. Its one of those ones that are utterly frustrating but absolutely beautiful at the same time. It reminded me of the sort of ending that Gayle Forman’s Just One Year. Hopeful, sad, cliffhanger, but so many good things. You come crashing to the end and you hope for more but I love that she leaves me waiting. I will always sort of wonder what is going to happen next and I love that.

Its a nice blend of science fiction (which makes my head spin at times) and contemporary. Its a story about trying to figure out what you want in your life, and how sometimes life just unfolds the way its supposed to and sometimes even the best plans don’t work. Abby has her Plan and it doesn’t go as planned, and she gets a second chance to see another way it could and I love that at the end, she knows she’s going the right way and that she’ll end up where she’s supposed to. I love it. Great job once again, Lauren, for making my head spin and leaving me wanting more once again. New book soon?


4 out of 5 stars

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