Books from my Favorite Genre:
Parallel Lives/Time-Oriented Books
Top Ten Tuesdays were started by The Broke and the Bookish and are now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review.
It’s no secret that I love contemporary fiction more than any other genre… but I feel like I’ve talked about those favorites over and over again at this point! My favorite sub-genre are books about parallel lives, parallel universes, and anything involving something weird happening with time. I’m not the hugest time travel fan, compared to other elements of manipulating time for books, but the Groundhog Day trope is an example of something weird and time-y happening. Anyways! I’m here today to talk about primarily parallel lives/universe books and give you my top favorites.
Pivot Point and Split Second by Kasie West
This one is a dual timeline book, but also involves special paranormal powers from the main character. The story alternates between the two lives she might live when her parents get divorced: one version of her chooses her mom inside the special compound and the other chooses living with her dad in the real world. She can also see and live through both decisions, in order to see the best outcome, as her power. (The second book alternates between two POVs – her and her friend – while the first alternates between the two versions of herself.)
One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington
Super unique take on parallel lives with this one! The main character is living two parallel lives and is aware of this. In one life, she lives in a wealthy Boston suburb with a rich family. In the other life, she has a poor family in a different town. Every night after midnight, she wakes up in the other life. As I said, this one is more unique because she’s fully aware that she has two lives and is struggling to maintain or live out both of them; she wants to make a decision and keep one.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Yes, the main reason this is my favorite TJR book is because I love parallel life books! This is a dual timeline book, where the main character makes a choice and splits the book in two. It uses alternating chapters, one for each choice. Her first night home in LA involves a decision: go home with her friend, or go home with her ex-boyfriend. There are wildly different consequences for each choice and the reader is wondering the entire time: will she have the same soulmate or end result?
Parallel by Lauren Miller
One of the more underrated books on this list, in my opinion. I loved it. The setup for this one does involve Abby making a decision (she always thought she’d go to journalism school but taking one drama class altered her whole career plan), but has a very different overall plot. She’s on a movie set one day and the next she wakes up at Yale for college. The parallel universes have collided and she’s the only one who knows it has happened. There are some real memories and some parallel life memories crashing together and confusing her, but she basically has to spend the book figuring out what happened.
Dissonance (and Resonance) by Erica O’Rourke
This duo (plus a novella) is one of my all-time favorites. I am super overdue for a reread! This story involves a multiverse. Each decision a person makes creates an alternate universe. The book is setup in a standard format with no alternating chapters because it’s a bit different than others on here. The MC and her family are Walkers, who go between all of the infinite universes and keep them running smoothly. It’s a fascinating exploration of the multiverse concept instead of just being about a main character who has two parallel lives.
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
This is a more traditional dual timeline book, where the main character’s decision splits the book in two. There are alternating chapters labeled “stay” (where she stays with her grandmother the night she’s sick) and “go” (where she heads to a party with her best friend). Naturally, there are repercussions for her decision and family drama that unfolds. It’s similar to Maybe in Another Life where you spend the book wondering if the end result will be the same for both timelines created.
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
A traditional time travel book did of course make its way on my list! This is a hard one to talk about without giving too much away, but the story alternates between to seemingly unrelated characters with very different stories and… stuff… Anyways! There are so many amazing twists and turns for this story. If you are interested in classic time travel books, please read this.
Loop by Karen Akins
I hate myself for still sleeping on the sequel of this book! The story involves a school where all of the students learn how to time travel. The MC makes a mistake on her midterm and ends up with a bit of a problem on her hands… then she goes back to her school and learns that people are targeting time travelers. I’ll admit that this one isn’t my absolute favorite on this list because I didn’t love the main character, but the overall story made it worth it and I still definitely want to read book two.
Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
This is another dual timeline book, where the main character has a decision to make that splits the book in two. In this case, she is deciding on her prom date. If she flips heads, she’ll go with her brother’s friend as a favor, and if she flips tails, she’ll go with her friend from theater. Of course, the book alternates between “heads” and “tails” chapters. I like this one because even though the concept is similar to other decision books, it was a lot funnier and lighter!
In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
And last but not really least, another dual timeline/decision-based book with a bit of a twist. The main character turns down an acceptance to a private school because she wants to stay with her high school boyfriend. When he cheats on her three years later, she wonders what would have happened if she chose that private school instead. She then hits her head and wakes up in the alternate universe, where she’s a completely different person, and has to figure out how to fix it all.