Every once in a while, a book comes along and surprises you in some way. Parallel by Lauren Miller was a book that surprised me. I expected to enjoy it (otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up), but I didn’t expect to become completely engrossed in this saga of parallel worlds and one girl’s fight to get back to the correct life.
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 was the type of book that hooked me the more I read. It started out an interesting read, with a cool concept. But the more I read, the more obsessed I became. I had to know what was going to happen next. Who would she end up with? What would change in her alternate life next? Where was she meant to be?
Beyond obsessively reading this book and staying up too late for a few nights in a row until I’d gotten to the end, Parallel also stuck with me. It’s the first time in many years I found myself really seriously thinking about the characters and what would happen to them next. After finishing Parallel, I was left with the feeling of wanting to read (and maybe even write) fan fiction about it — about this world and its characters and where they would go next.
Miller has crafted a highly addictive read with a high-concept premise and seriously engaging characters. Parallel will not soon be forgotten by any of its readers.
Parallel is in stores May 14th.