Review: Parallel

Posted February 5, 2016 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Review: ParallelParallel by Lauren Miller
on May 14th 2013
(448 pages) • GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

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.

my thoughts pinkI love parallel life books so much. Andi kept gently pushing *cough* for me to read this book, and I don’t know what took me so long. This book comes close to an all-time favorite, but I’m not sure I can give it that label. I feel like it may change if and when I reread.

The book follows Abby, who finds out that a collision of parallel universes happened and she’s the only one who knows about it. It’s really hard to explain but basically she has some real memories and some that her parallel (in the past) has rewritten. The book starts with her on a movie set in LA and then she ends up waking up at Yale for college. She has to figure out how everything changed, and the book alternates between “here” and “there.” I really loved this book, but let me count the ways for you…


Abby is basically me. Not in the personality way, but in every other way. Her birthday is the SAME DAY AS ME, down to the year. And her birthday is kind of a big deal throughout the book, so they spent a lot of time talking about it. That gave me a lot of warm and fuzzies. She was born at 9:09pm on September 9th, which is almost the same time I was born. Because she went to Yale for part of the book, she lived in Connecticut! She mentioned alllll sorts of things I know about (like Toads, the concert venue), which was fucking cool. She ate a white clam pizza, which I’m assuming came from Pepe’s. So delicious.

The complex parallel universe concept was awesome. It was totally confusing for a little while, but got cooler and more interesting as the book went on! I was so intrigued by Dr. Mann and her best friend Caitlin, because they were smart and knew what was going on. Without them, Abby would have honestly been fucked. A lot of the science-y talk was reminiscent of Dissonance, so that’s AWESOME. A lot of parallel life or choice books involve the main character not knowing that they live out two different timelines, but Abby did – just like Del in Dissonance.

Girl friends can be soulmates too! Oh god, the #friendshipgoals. I loved Caitlin and Abby so much. They did have an ~issue~ at one point, but spoilers. They just had such a strong connection. Tyler was a great side character too. And Marissa! She had a nice group of friends around her.

Her parents were excellent. That was one of the first notes I wrote down. They were just really cool and supportive, so that’s definitely worth mentioning. You know how rare that can be in some YA books!

It explored my favorite topic: destiny vs. choiceIn this book, the doctor argues that people end up where they’re meant to end up regardless of choices they make. Abby’s life path wildly differs between the different versions of herself. I won’t spoil the ending and whether or not his theory is true, but you should read it to find out. 🙂 See some of the favorite quotes below and you’ll understand why I loved it so much.

Needed a little more

I wanted more time with Josh. The romance aspect of the book was pretty prevalent, but I wanted more than just memories of those two. She spent more time with Michael. Although, some of the twist and turns within the romance were fucking crazy. So that was really, really cool.

That ending murdered me. I am actually happy overall, but there were some pages that made my heart rate quicken. I liked how it ended a lot, the more I think about it. BUT IT WAS SO STRESSFUL. I think my emotions were running high at 1:00AM when I decided to finish reading, but still. Crazy.

favorite quotes

“Your life is always your own… You are a uniquely created being with a transcendent soul. a new set of memories or an altered sense of reality cannot change what is fundamentally true… Your path will change. Your destiny never will.”

“That’s the funny thing about life. We’re rarely aware of the bullets we dodge. The just-misses. The almost-never-happeneds. We spend so much time worrying about how the future is going to play out and not nearly enough time admiring the precious perfection of the present.”

“A person rarely gets just one chance at anything. There are second chances everywhere, if you know where to look for them.”

rating breakdown pink

Plot & Premise
Writing Style
Pacing & Flow
Feels or Swoons
Addiction Level
Overall: 4.4

4 responses to “Review: Parallel

  1. I still have to read Parallel! I’m well aware of Andi’s love for it, and that’s what put it on my radar in the first place. But after reading your review, I’m feeling even more encouraged to try to pick it up at some point! I do love a good parallel life, sci-fi tale, and this sounds great. Plus, I’m all for great friendships!

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