Parallel by Lauren Miller

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Title : Parallel
Author : Lauren Miller
Genre : Fantasy
Published Date : May 14th 2013
Publisher : HarperCollins
Pages : 419

Source : Publisher, in exchange for a fair and honest review
Rating : ✿✿✿

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 soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.


Review

A truly genius, inventive, and satisfying read
Intriguing right from the beginning, Parallel was really enjoyable with a complicated yet understandable twist, and totally unpredictable, throwing us surprise at its every page. 

"We are more real than real."
—Abby

Reading this book, I actually needed to pause and rethink everything the moment Abby's world literally collide, connecting and everything before I began to read again. My brain really had to work and think, digesting the story little by little and understanding every part. And while it was quite confusing at first and made me go all "what?" because both of Abby's life became a little bit mixed up on my mind, it was really a fun and interesting read once you've understand the whole world of Parallel.

The concept of the parallel world colliding with our world, replacing each other's history and made us life in someone's else memory was really interesting for me. While the topic was somewhat scientific and sounds complicated, the executions was done really well to keep the reader curious. 
The plotting and pacing was also perfect, jumping back between here and there at an acceptable rate, and I love how this book was like a literal definition of 'Character-driven plot', because it was, literally.

I also really love how Lauren Miller used current Abby's life—which could always change anytime if her parallel's self took different decision—to present us the theory of Parallel, making the readers understand what was going on, and explaining things to the clueless Abby as well.
And when Abby's life was not certain, unsure about what would change tomorrow because of her past self, I noticed that her feeling of insecurity and uncertainty about her future really reflected on her narration. Her voice was strong and distinct, and it was successful in making me concerned about her, and about whether her life would be changed or not.

I—Although this book really amazed me—unfortunately, am not really fond with the Mary Sue-ish feeling this book had early in the story. 
So Abby was the editor in chief if her high school newspaper, the captain of the cross-country team, and on pace to graduate in the top 5 percent of her class. 
Her dad was the head of the litigation department at a big Atlanta law firm, and her mom apparently was the 'head curator at the High Museum' and was courted by some bigger museums. And so and so and so on. Because we really have to read a sue-ish character with a grand titles—with a glowing S, mind you—with a head-this-and-head-that parents also. 
Please
We would even love to read about an outcast or whatever as long as his personality was solid and real and likable. Not that Abby was annoying and unbelievable, but her amazing titles and labels, honestly, did absolutely nothing to the story.
On the other hands, aside for the mary sue-ish and useless title, I really love how the two Abby was very different yet similar to each other. They were both unique and easily distinguishable, yet they still both felt totally 'Abby'. And it really added the real feeling of the book, that somewhere out there, the parallel world really did exist.

Abby's best friend, Caitlin, was another of victim of the Mary Sue-ness as well. According to Abby's narration, she was a science-savvy, and a nerd. No problem. Imagine a nerd now, okay?
Then, meet our somewhat-sue-ish-as-well Caitlin : A nerd with an ex-model Mom, great physical appearance that looked like 'she belongs in Teen Vogue', had a runway-worthy wardrobe, popular boy kneeling on her feet, and an average way to talk that was far off from nerd area.
Seriously? That didn't sound nerdy. At all.
Wrong label with a wrong sets of personality, I guess. But once you got past over her 'nerd' label, and just pictured her as the smart best friend, she was actually interesting, and stood out from the rest.

The side characters, such as Marissa, Michael, and Tyler, was shining as well, and although some of them didn't really played an important role on the story, their character were well-developed, distinct, and unique, not just your typical side-character nice and helpful traits. They all had their own life and background story, and I can totally see them doing something outside the story, so yeah, they're all really believable and three-dimensional

Until the very end, though, we still didn't know what caused Abby to be an anomaly, the only one that was aware of this cosmic collision, and I think this book would become even better if Lauren Miller explained that to us, to get rid the 'this is Abby story so yeah, that must happen' feeling, you know?
The other flaw of this book I also found, was the insta-love between Abby and Michael as well. When they first met each other, they were just like, what, meeting for hours? And then he was already kissing her, sending her a good night text, and casually hugging her and much more? And they liked each other already? Oh my, wasn't it so romantic? No. Big no-no.
And then, after 2 and a half months—yes, an unbelievable two and a half months—she was somewhat really concerned and feared that her parallel self would do something that would change her today's present relationship with Michael, because she really love him and blah. 
I, honestly, didn't really care if Abby's relationship with him would sever or not, because I simply couldn't feel any chemistry between them. And if I can't feel it, that what should I be rooting and care for?

Aside from the lack of romantic chemistry between Abby and Michael, overall, this book really had me wowed. The praise on the back cover weren't bluffs, and it really was one of the best debut novel I've ever read. The concept was carefully planned and deeply thought, and although I'm not really a fan of a scientific-feely novel, Parallel really changed my perceptions.
If you're looking for a contemporary romance read with a slight hint of Sci-fi or Fantasy like Forgotten, with a strong and solid character, original concept, as well as brilliant plot and story line, this one is a total must-read.

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6 comments

  1. Eepp! Your review made me want to read this book now! I'm waiting for my copy to arrive though so it will take a while :(
    I'm hoping I'll love this book just like you! Great review. Oooh! And I love your chic new look! :D

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    1. Aww, thankies Mae! This book is definitely awesome :D

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  2. I'm so mad at myself for not reading this book sooner :( I love the whole concept of the plot. It sounds like there's a lot of things going on, but doesn't get overly messy or anything. Great review, as usual!

    Btw, LOVE your new layout! <3

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

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    1. Thank you Ellie *hughug* !! Love yours too!

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  3. I'm so glad to see that you enjoyed this one so much, Neysa! I just bought it a few weeks ago and am looking forward to reading it immensely. I adore all things parallel universe/reality in YA.

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  4. I've definitely been keeping an eye on this one, and am excited to hear that you enjoyed it! :D

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