May 8, 2013

Latest Read: Parallel

Here are the basics ...
Parallel by Lauren Miller
Publication date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Category: Young Adult - Science Fiction
Source: Edelweiss (Thanks!)

Summary: Abby Barnes' plan was to go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper. But one choice—taking a drama her senior year—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her 18th birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set wishing she could rewind her life. Then the next morning, she's in a dorm at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. With the help of her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year 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 and learn to focus on the present and the destiny that's finally within reach. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Fringe is one of my all-time favorite shows so the whole parallel universe thing - I knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Parallel explored this concept in a way that I didn't anticipate.  Abby Barnes is living in L.A. filming a movie and you'd think she'd be happy but she isn't. This was never supposed to be her life but taking a drama class her senior year changed everything and now she wishes she could undo it all. Not possible, right? Cue the morning after her 18th birthday and Abby mysteriously wakes up in a Yale dorm room and life as she knew it.. completely rewritten. The storytelling takes an interesting turn at this point. Abby discovers her new reality is a result of a "cosmic collision" which caused two different realities to merge (one where she takes the drama class and one where she doesn't). But there's more. The chapters alternate between here (in the present) and there (Abby's past/parallel self). And every decision there-Abby makes affects here-Abby's life. (Still following?) So each new day is a challenge because every time here-Abby wakes up, anything and everything could be different. This was admittedly a little confusing at first and it took some adjusting on my part but I loved this direction.

The best part of the book though was undoubtedly the emphasis on choice and how every decision you make changes your life somehow. It could be in small ways you don't even notice or big ways that come into play much later. The author toys with themes like destiny, fate and consequences and it really made me think. Because you don't think things like taking a random elective in high school could change the course of your life. But the truth is, you never know.

(Major) reservations: I had trouble connecting with Abby. At one point her best friend tells her she's too much work and honestly, I have to agree. Half the time I was thinking, what is this girl doing. But then again, her life is pretty crazy with all this parallel world stuff. It's not exactly normal, which brings me to my next issue. Her best friend Caitlin is a science genius and the first person Abby turns to when she realizes what's happened. And Caitlin just accepts what Abby tells her within minutes. If I woke up one morning and told my best friends I was in a parallel universe, they'd probably try to get me some help. I had a hard time believing the other characters' immediate acceptance of Abby's explanations. At least let them freak out for a couple days! I'd even settle for a couple hours. Then the romances fell a little flat for me too but I kept going because the writing was engaging enough (although overly repetitive at times) that I wanted to reach the end. But then.. the end. Let's just say I was not a happy camper. It basically undid everything I had just gotten invested in, in a very jarring manner.

Do I recommend?: I always hate saying this but overall, the book fell short of my expectations and I didn't connect with the story as much as I had hoped to. That said, if the concept intrigues you.. it could be worth reading and finding out for yourself. You may see something I didn't.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. It makes me sad that this book wasn't exactly what you expected it to be, and turned out disappointing. The idea of parallel lives really is a fascinating one though!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I def wanted to like this one more, but couldn't. I also think it has more to do with Abby bc I didn't like her very much. She was a bit too whiny and lack some common sense for me to really connect with her. Idk, it wasn't what I was hoping for, I guess. Great review!

    Vivian
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

    ReplyDelete