Saturday, August 24, 2013

REVIEW: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Title: Parallel
Author: Lauren Miller Website Twitter
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Pages: 432
Buy It! amazon
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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 soulmate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

First Thoughts: The second half of the book gets 4 stars; the first half gets 2. I feel kind of guilty for not liking this book more, because I really liked the ending; it just didn’t justify my struggle through the first few hundred pages (that’s a lot of time invested).

I felt very conflicted after reading this book; I really enjoyed the last third (and the ending), but I also really struggled through the first two thirds. So, let me start with my struggles. This book was EXTREMELY confusing in the beginning. Not right off the bat, but once Abby jumped parallel worlds, I was a bit lost. I’m assuming Miller did that on purpose - make the reader experience the confusion the main character’s going through, but as a reader it bothered me. I found myself having to slow down and reread A LOT (teaching moment for students). The beginning kind of felt like work, and that’s not what reading is to me.

I also didn’t really like Abby as the main character. She was okay - I understood her confusion, her anxiety, and her heartbreak. However, I liked almost all of the minor characters better than her; that’s a problem for a main character. Caitlin was by far my favorite character, and I kind of wish we had her telling the story. I felt she is much more relatable than Abby (plus less whiny and hypocritical). And Tyler? Hilarious! I want a friend just like him. As a reader, I just wish Abby was as strong a person as her supporting cast.

Now, even though I struggled with some confusion and apathy towards the beginning of the book, I decided to stick with it (dang reading guilt). I thought the concept was really unique and wanted to give the book a chance. I’m glad I did! I really enjoyed the last third. The pace of the story picked up, there was more action (or at least more drama), and I loved the message presented. The concept of soulmates and destiny was really beautiful (sorry for the cheese). I liked the idea that even though we might question some decisions, and even though we might not always go down the “right” path, we will end up where we are meant to be. I think that’s a really beautiful thought.

Final Thoughts: Great ending, okay beginning, beautiful message. Not my go-to recommendation if you’re looking for a great book you can’t put down, but a good book, nonetheless, if you’re looking to add to your TBR pile.

Who Should Read It? This book is really a romance at heart. There’s a bit of science fiction with the parallel worlds and physics theories, but ultimately it’s about love, soulmates, and destiny. If you want a different take on a romance, complete with love triangle, try this one out (just remember to take the beginning slow - it’s worth it in the end).

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