Parallel by Lauren Miller, pub. 2013, 432 pg.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Parallel by Lauren Miller honestly left me speechless. That’s a pretty difficult thing to do, but as soon as I finished reading the final words, I couldn’t do anything but sit in silence and try to wrap my mind around how a book can be that complex and adorable and amazing all at the same time.
If you couldn’t tell, I am kind of in love with this book. And it’s not just because it’s about a girl named Abby who lives in the Midwestern United States and spends her whole life wanting to be a journalist (because, um, that’s totally my life). Parallel was stunningly complicated. It kind of has to be – it deals with parallel universes.
Abby spends her whole high school career crafting the perfect combination of classes and extracurricular activities so she can get into the college of her dreams and pursue her lifelong goal of becoming a journalist. But things don’t go quite the way she planned her senior year when one of her classes gets cancelled at the last minute and she has to choose between theater and astronomy to take its place. In one version of her life, she chooses theater and ends up getting cast in a movie and moving out to L.A. before graduation. Her acting career gets in the way of her college dreams, and she resigns herself to the fact that she’ll have to postpone university until filming wraps up.
On the morning of her eighteenth birthday, she wakes up in a dorm room at Yale with no recollection of how she got there and memories of having had to take astronomy over theater her first day of her high school senior year.
Needless to say, things get crazy from there. The book is told in alternating perspectives between current-Abby’s present as she is trying to figure out the events that led her to Yale and what else has changed in her life, and her parallel self’s present (which takes place one year in current-Abby’s past) as she works her way through high school. Parallel-Abby’s daily choices make huge impacts on present-Abby’s life, changing events and relationships nearly every day.
So many things about this book were amazing. First of all, it has a huge range of appeal. Parallel-Abby is in high school, and Present-Abby is in college, so it has a great blend of the goofy immaturity of high school and the rollicking good times of college.
The premise is totally mind blowing and pretty complex, but Miller ties things together extremely well and makes everything easy to follow. The idea of parallel universes can be difficult to wrap your mind around, but you learn about them as Abby learns about them, so things are explained in a really easy to understand way.
This book also contains one of the greatest spins on a love story I have ever read. READ THE FULL REVIEW AT THE DAILY QUIRK!