Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading … Parallel by Lauren Miller

Monday, April 15, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Parallel by Lauren Miller

Parallel 
by Lauren Miller
To be published by Harper Teen
on May 14, 2013

Connect with the author: website : Twitter : Facebook.




Summary (adapted from Goodreads:)Abby Barnes had a Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper. 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. 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 take: I don't claim to be any kind of expert on physics or the multiverse. In fact, the whole thing kind of freaks me out. But the idea is everywhere on TV these days -- shows like Sliders, Fringe, even Family Guy. I mean, I have enough trouble managing this universe. On the Big Bang Theory, I'd be Penny -- mentally, at least.

Still,  I loved Parallel, which takes an intellectual concept and makes it fun. Yes, fun is the word I'd use to describe Parallel. Fun, engaging and romantic.

Abby is a type-A, control-freak kind of girl who -- to her astonishment and through a series of chance events -- ends up acting in a Hollywood movie instead of going to journalism school. Then there's some sort of cosmic fender-bender that entangles Abby's consciousness with that of another Abby who is living the year before her in a parallel universe.

Cool, right? Well … not really. The decisions that Parallel Abby makes are changing the reality that Abby experiences, resulting in the fact that Abby wakes up every morning not sure what the heck is going on with her life. Which is causing her a lot of stress. So -- and yes, there's an element of convenience here -- she turns to her best friend Caitlin, a girl who just happens to be nearby and also happens to combine the looks of a Penny with the brains of a Sheldon. Not only does Caitlin believe Abby's crazier-than-crazy story, she tries to help her fix everything.

I think one of the things I loved most about Parallel was that it wasn't all about science. There are a bunch of other themes here: art, friendship, free will, and trust. Abby wants to control everything, but what her experience teaches her is that life is a combination of careful planning and complete serendipity and that it's easier to be happy if you can embrace them both. Did I say embrace? I can't leave out the romantic aspects of this story. Abby has one guy in each universe, each one cuter and more athletic than the other. That would be my one complaint - that with all the universe switching, the two of them blurred in my mind at times. One was a lacrosse player, one was a rower. Couldn't one be in a garage band or write poetry? But then …. holy cosmic collision, Batman! There was a unexpected plot twist -- a romantic complication that was completely unexpected and very nicely resolved :)

I really enjoyed Parallel. Ingeniously plotted, funny, and romantic, it was just a whole lot of fun to read. I highly recommend it to adult fans of old school YA like Freaky Friday, to readers who can't get enough of those multiverse plots, and also to those readers who'd just like to gaze up at the stars without thinking about stuff like hydrogen and helium and nuclear fusion.

Check back later today for my stop on the Signed Books Giveaway Hop!

24 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I'm really excited to read it. And I do love Freaky Friday! :)
    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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    1. Me too. I love the book, I love the movie. One of my the best YAs ever!

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  2. I'm not usually a fan of time travel or parallel universe stories but I like that this one is FUN so I might give it a shot.

    Great review!

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  3. I want this!!! I like the idea of parallel universes and I like it even more that there isn't a lot of science because science and I don't always get along.

    Also, I LOVE The Big Bang Theory!

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    1. There is science, but it's not done in a way that makes your eyes cross and your brain freeze. I really enjoyed it. I love the Big Bang Theory too. Have they done a multiverse episode? They must have….

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    2. You know I don't know if they have, but I have just added it to today's to do list to find out.

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  4. Your review is definitely making this sound exactly like a book I'll like. I can't wait to pick up a copy! Personally I think of myself as a bit of a Penny/Sheldon mash-up (although alas not quite with the looks of Penny nor with the brains of Sheldon).

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    1. I wish I'd given science more of a chance. I loved Biology but was not as much of a fan of Chemistry, which required an ability to follow exact instructions. I might have liked Physics if I'd given it a try!

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  5. The premise intrigued me from the 1st time I read and kinda glad that science doesn't take a front seat because I wouldn't understand
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  6. You do seem to love these parallel universe books! I really enjoyed Unraveling (as you know) but sometimes the parallel/ multiverse thing makes my head hurt (I think we have talked about this too.) So I find that I will often steer clear of them, and maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should "embrace" them more:)

    And yeah, guys in garage bands or who write poetry are usually my FAVORITE:)

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  7. I am not convinced I would believe that she just so happened to end up in a big Hollywood movie. I just... don't believe it. Seriously....... I'm not sure if I could get past it.

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  8. oh very interesting, not many reviews on it yet but I can see why you found it fun. I have not yet read a book like that yet, but I think I have to add it to my list. I don't remember the last time I read a good parallel universe book.

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  9. I think I mentioned that parallel universes are plot device that I usually avoid, they also tend to be confusing. However, this book does sound FUN as you said, and I like that it doesn't read as a complicated science book, but explores relatable themes within this crazy situation. Thanks for warming me up to this one, Jen!

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  10. Looking forward to this one! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  11. Your review has me so excited for this book! I just took it down for my reading before May (if possible) and wasn't sure what to think by the description. I have been reading so many heavy reads lately, I'm happy to hear this one has some 'fun' in it. It sounds pretty great! I'm much more excited to read it now!

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  12. Nice review. Mulitverse is hard to do without it getting all confusing. I should be reading this book soon. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Lol! ^Wrong post^ I like this book a lot too! The anticipation at the end nearly killed me!

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  14. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I always wanted to read this because the idea of parallel universe amaze me. You gave me more reason to read it!

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  15. I am all about the multiverse books right now. Sounds like this one is similar to Pivot Point, in that it's more of a contemporary. Me likey. :P Also, "holy cosmic collision, Batman!" I think I used one of those catch phrases in a review recently, too. But yours is kind of perfection. :)

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  16. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. I'm also happy to hear that the science doesn't over power the story. Multiple universes are hard to pull off in books so I'm really interested in trying this one out for myself.

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  17. Fabulous review! I already had this on my tbr, but now I definitely am going to have to read it! I love that you said it was actually a fun read. I'm wondering why there can't be more of those with these types of plots (sci-fi, parallel worlds, dystopian, etc). I definitely would go for more of them. :)

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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  18. It seems like parallel universes are the new thing in YA, the only book I have read with this concept was Through To You By: Emily Hainsworth and I didn't love it but, this one sounds really great.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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