by Lauren Miller
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Excerpt: No | Book Trailer: Yes
Reviewed by: Chris | Source: Edelweiss
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.
Ok, ok, I admit it. When PARALLEL was offered to me for review I picked it solely because I thought the cover was awesome. I should stop doing this. Or I should at least read the blurb too. Oops.
Why am I pointing this out? Because if I had read the blurb my fine-tuned stupid love triangle Spidey-Sense would have started tingling and I likely would have passed. Maybe. I love alternate lives/parallel universe stories so I probably would have still picked it up, but at least I would have been prepared for the love triangle. Blah. Why does nearly every YA book I see involve one? Do people simply refuse to buy a book if the love plot only involves two people? I don’t get it.
So yeah. PARALLEL has the standard love triangle that you’ve seen countless times before in other YA novels. Sometimes the strength of the characters make it work and sometimes the story just falls flat. PARALLEL is one of the latter. Abby bored me to tears and I quickly found myself not caring what happens to her as the book went on. And her best friend Caitlin? Ugh. Not only is she supermodel gorgeous, but she’s also a science genius who just happens to have contacts in fringe science that can help out Abby. Miller should have just named her Deus Ex Machina and gone for the irony angle.
I should pause here and give some credit where credit is due – Lauren Miller writes some fun prose. Her style entertained me enough that I finished the book solely because of that. Which is sad, because everything about the book (other than the love triangle) holds a ton of promise. Miller provides just enough world-building and plotting to make you “Hey, that sounds cool. I want to see where that goes!” and then leaves you mostly unfulfilled. If I’m being honest here the book seriously feels like the introduction to a series even though I could find nothing that says that this is, indeed, part of a series. I’m hoping it is because while the book certainly isn’t bad – it also could be much, much better if the world(s) Miller has created got explored a little more.
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