Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller (5 stars)

by Lauren Miller
Publication: May 14, 2013
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 blew my mind.

I went into this book thinking it would be young adult science fiction, which is a genre I love. It was. But it was also a romance novel that was both heart-breaking and heart-mending. I stayed up all night to finish this book because I had to know that Abby would find her soulmate in the end.

The primary complication to Abby's love life is the fact that her world collided with a parallel one a year ago. As a result, her present state is determined by choices her parallel self made in the past. Unfortunately, Abby suspects that her parallel self isn't exactly like her, so her parallel's choices don't always land Abby where she wants to be. She fears that one day she'll wake up and her love life will have been rewritten, and she'll be the only one who remembers how things are supposed to be. In the end, will she find her soulmate regardless of the path she's on?

It was 1:00 in the morning, and I was just about to put this book down after promising myself I would do so an hour earlier. Then this happened:

Yep, Parallel ripped my heart out and crushed it. So I had to keep reading until I finished the book, fighting with myself not to flip to the end to make sure everything was going to be okay.

Luckily, at the the conclusion, I was here:

Otherwise . . . well, let's just say I had a plan to hunt down and harass author Lauren Miller until she rewrote the ending. Lucky for her, I was more than satisfied.

I don't think all readers will enjoy the science babble explaining the entanglement of two parallel worlds. Personally, I thought this was a pretty cool aspect of the book. But even those who get a giant headache from the science babble can still enjoy the intensity of feelings that Abby has for her boyfriend—and that Abby's parallel has for her boyfriend.

The one thing I didn't absolutely love love love about Parallel is that I think I found a small glitch in the rubber science. If Abby and everyone in her world are getting the memories of their parallels, as theorized, then their parallels shouldn't be able to affect their physical properties. Abby shouldn't have scars from her parallel's injuries, and she shouldn't be in Connecticut just because her parallel went there instead of moving to California. This little glitch bothered me a bit. But you know what, Parallel? I still love you.

Most of my favorite books are action-heavy fantasy and science fiction novels. Parallel is now added to my favorites as one of the few romance novels I absolutely adored. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to young adult science fiction readers who like romance, as well as to contemporary romance readers. Just be prepared to put your heart on the line.

Thanks to HarperCollins for the free ARC of this title, provided through Edelweiss.


  1. I usually don't like books you read, but this one has me excited!

    1. I think you'd like it--as long as you go in knowing no one's going to get hot and sweaty.