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New Adult SciFi | Book Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

If you like more soft-ish scifi, Parallel is right up your alley. Especially if you’d like a new adult twist.

Book Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

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parallel lauren miller book review

Title & Author: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction

Release Date: May 14, 2013

Series: Standalone

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: Copy via the publisher

Description:

“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.”

When Universes Collide

After reading and loving Free to Fall, I realized I had a copy of Parallel, Miller’s first book, just sitting on my shelf.

Free to Fall was enough of a recommendation by itself to recommend this book to me. The premise reminded me of Pivot Point but without advanced mind power.

Parallel is really interesting in that its both YA and new adult at the same time. Because of the way the story is told, events unfold in high school and in college. For that reason, I think this book might appeal to those wanting something more mature in the YA genre without sacrificing the care-free fun of high school antics.

I really don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll try to keep my descriptions as detail-free as possible.

One of the initial challenges of reading the book was sorting through the chapters, labeled Here or There. The timeline was very confusing to me initially, but then I finally caught on, and it was smooth sailing from there. If you’re also confused while reading, don’t let this discourage you. Parallel is worth the effort.

Plus, this novel had me running the gamut of emotions – I was frustrated, excited, worried and gushing. Most of all, I rooted for Abby. I loved her personality, choices and sense of purpose. She was a very relatable character, and I liked how much depth and emotion she showed.

Bigger Than Us

Like with Miller’s other story, Parallel absolutely hints at larger themes than just what’s shown in the characters’ lives. There are stong undertones of destiny and fate and the divine. Some elements were incorporated really well, and others stood out as not having blended in as nicely (there’s one scene where Abby attends a small church service, and it seemed so out of place to me, as she never goes back and it’s never mentioned again).

I really enjoy it when stories examine life in other, more profound ways than what’s right in front of you. It’s dangerous territory, though, because sometimes this inclusion of big picture ideas can seem preachy or cheesy. I did not feel that way about this book, and other than the one time I listed, I thought these ideas were incorporated well.

I especially connected with the question of – how does one seemingly small action impact the future? Can one decision change everything? And, if it does, can we really control the ultimate path of our own lives, or is it all just meant to be?

OVERALL:

Excellent with some bumps. The idea of parallel universes was something I haven’t seen explored too much, and I think it was done well. Despite some initial confusion and a mid-reading mini-slump, I seriously loved this book. As another stellar standalone and an interesting new scifi read, I highly recommend Parallel.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.