Parallel by Lauren Miller
Published: 14 May 2013 by HarperTeen
Pages: 419 (hardcover)
Genre/s: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher for review
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.
Parallel is the third 'parallel lives' book I've read in 2013 - it's a concept that I find fascinating and it seems to be a way to build a love triangle sneakily. Because all three that I've read have this particular quirk, I'm probably becoming a little more aware of it but strangely, it hasn't bothered me in any of them.
Abby is a curious, driven character and although her single-mindedness in knowing what she wants her future to be could be irritating, Miller uses vulnerability to make her more likable. I honestly could have completely despised someone that was so sure of herself, but it's more of an outward surety, and her inner conflicts makes her much easier to relate to.
Miller explains the science behind Abby's lives quite well - it's perfectly balanced between enough information without being overwhelming, and the explanations although astrophysical are straight forward enough to understand without needing to know a great deal about the subjects.
I've mentioned that Parallel has a love triangle of sorts as Abby has relationships in both parallels, but they don't really come into play until the second half of the story. This gave me a feeling of being far more invested in Abby as a person rather than trying to discern which of her relationships I liked better. And unlike the other two books I've read along the same lines where I knew from the first moment which relationship I liked better, my feelings changed during the course of Parallel - although by the ending I was wondering WHY I was so conflicted.
The ending is a doozy - it's the kind of ending I personally love because it leaves enough of the story open to decide how I want it to end, but was still left feeling satisfied.