Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vouched Book—Parallel by Lauren Miller

by Lauren Miller
Publication: May 14th 2013 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction | Contemporary Romance

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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.

Imaginative and thought-provoking, Parallel  is a wonderfully executed story about the complexity of free will and the beauty behind destiny. A two-fold story in alternating POVs, it follows multiple tangents of one girl's lives in two different time and place settings. The Abbi who took a major detour from her life plan and regrets it, then wakes up in a new reality that's still not the life she envisioned but is closer; and the Abbi who is begins to walk the path of her dreams with a few unforeseen turns.

The first Abby, the main one, knows not only is she living in a different reality but she's also conscious of the other Abby, her parallel self living exactly one year and a day behind her, and all the choices she makes because they affect her present—even though they're on completely different paths.

Though complex, the story isn't confusing. It's fascinating and eventually picks up after a somewhat slow beginning. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn't sure where the book was headed, how it would end, whether one life was more real than the other, if at all. As an ever-changing sequence of events that continuously shifted Abbi's lives and those of her friends, it wasn't about one life but multiple. I loved how the results of one person's decisions affected everyone's. Multi-faceted, all the characters stood out and had a significant place in each other's lives and in the story.

But the beauty of Parallel, what made it unique, was the scientific approach and fate combo. All the explanations fed my science-geek and philosophy appetites together, the rational and analytical along with the believer, dreamer, and determined romantic.

Although the shift in theme between science and romance could have been more seamless (the plot fluctuates from a coming-of-age, personal-growth story to intellectual mystery to good, old relationship drama), the ending was fabulous and cinched enough of everything together to make an awesome story that there are no wrong turns in life and you can have more than one soul mate. The book was a conglomeration of foods for thought spread out on a table, each eye-catching and thought-provoking, made only more satisfying and sigh-inducing when taken as a whole. It made me think and stew over it for days.

Parallel  proved both journey and destination matter, that knowing and not-knowing both have their pros and cons, and in the end, it probably wouldn't make a difference. In the pursuit of happiness, it's good to pause and just be happy. HEAs are everywhere, and a person will catch up to it and many eventually.

eARC provided by the HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Lauren Miller

Her Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
I was born in NYC and raised in Atlanta. I went to college at Yale and law school at Berkeley, then I got married and moved to Los Angeles to practice law.

I liked it. But after about a year, I got the itch to be doing something more creative. The itch got stronger. I found myself typing out random bits of dialogue on my Blackberry (remember those?) and pitching story ideas to my co-workers. One of those ideas became a script for a TV pilot. When it didn’t sell, I wrote another one and another one. Soon, I was ducking out of work to go to pitch meetings at studios and networks. It felt like I was getting somewhere.

Then I got pregnant. Unexpectedly. This freaked me out. Not because I didn’t want kids (I did), but because I was afraid (ok, convinced) that motherhood would zap my creative potential.

To prove myself wrong, I resolved to write a novel in the first 100 days of my child’s life and blog about it, an experiment I called “embracing the detour” (if you’re looking for an embrace the detour fridge magnet, I’m your girl. If you’re looking for old embrace the detour blog posts, click HERE). At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea. Looking back, it makes me laugh at the childless version of me.

Then again, she’s the reason the current version of me ended up with a two-book deal at HarperTeen. And my very first script sale (but that’s a whole other story).


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