Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on May 27, 2013 | 6 Comments

Review: Parallel by Lauren MillerParallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen (5.14.2013)
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 432 pages
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

4 Stars

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

“Often it is the choices that seem inconsequential that uproot us.”

I love books that make you think. And Parallel was definitely one of those books! To be honest, my enjoyment of this book didn’t come from the characters, or the prose, but from the idea of it. The concept of a parallel universe is mind boggling – even more so when two realities collide and intertwine. The story was told from alternating points of view: Abby’s perspective in the present, and Parallel Abby’s perspective in the past. It took a few chapters to get used to it (and to be able to tell the boys apart…I had some trouble with that because they were very similar to me), but it was pulled off really well.

We’re all just a decision or two away from destroying the relationships that are most important to us and to the people we love.

It was really interesting to see how each tiny change that Parallel Abby made affected Abby’s life in the future. How even small decisions can change the outcome drastically. It was so fascinating! It really makes you stop to think about all the ‘what if’s’ – about choices you’ve made and what effect they’ve had, how even something that seems insignificant can snowball into something larger, much like the butterfly effect. 

Abby kind of annoyed me. Present Abby and Parallel Abby both (because even though present Abby saw them as two different people, they were one and the same to me, just in different circumstances). She was a bit of a control freak, and there were times I was just thinking, Wow, calm your tits lady. It’s really not that serious. Plus she acted like too much of a female and I wanted to slap her. For instance, she went to pick up Josh and was freaking out because she thought she might have to meet his parents, but he came out to the car instead and she was all, ‘Wait, should I be offended that he didn’t want me to come to the door?’ Really? 

“It’s too late,” I tell him. “He’s with Megan now.”
“Hot Megan?”
I glare at him.
“I meant, ‘Megan who looks like a troll?'”

The jealousy got on my nerves too. You’re pissed because a guy thinks she’s hot? So it’s wrong if you think another guy is attractive? The only reason she was pissed was because she basically set Josh and Megan up, even though she already liked the guy. Megan was even decent enough to ask her if she liked him and she pretty much lied about it and then agreed to talk to Josh for Megan. Um, whose fault is that? She had no right to be pissed. If you’re gonna be dumb enough to be like ‘Oh no, it’s okay, I don’t like him or anything…Yeah sure I can talk to him for you!’ then it’s your fault if you lose your chance with the guy. Idiot. And she got jealous because she saw her best friend talking to him and jumped to conclusions. Like a guy and a girl can’t talk without being interested in each other? God forbid they actually be friends! For crying out loud. Pull your panties outta your arse.

She lied quite a few times, and to her closest friends. I wanted to punch her! She meddled in things that she should have just left alone, then tried to cover it up with lies and things got way out of hand. She ended up screwing things up rather than helping. Not to mention the fact that she had to Google ‘permanent vegetative state’ – seriously? Are those words too big for you? How could you not figure out what that means?

I really liked Caitlin, though. She was practical and down to earth, and helped to anchor Abby and pull her back down when she started to float away into the clouds. Abby was going to quit her crew team because it was supposedly Parallel Abby’s decision and not hers, so Caitlin was the voice of reason:

“Oh yeah? If you quit just to spite her, then what’s changed? Her actions are still dictating yours.”

Thank you, Caitlin! That’s why I liked her. But I think my favorite character was Fiona. I loooved her!! She dressed like a rocker and her brain to mouth filter was a little damaged to say the least. She said crazy things off the top of her head (some rather inappropriate yet hilarious) and I loved her already from the first page she made an appearance. She made me giggle with her random comments! I would have liked to see more of her.

I didn’t really care about the romance, but it wasn’t annoying. Honestly, I had trouble telling Josh and Michael apart at times because they didn’t really stand apart from one another. And I feel like Abby was sticking with one guy and was sure he was right for her (and was happy to be with him), then suddenly switched to the other, claiming he was her soul mate (or something along those lines). Erm, you’re just now realizing this? Random epiphany, I guess?

I do have to admit that there was kind of a twist in there that I didn’t see coming. It added more drama to the story (mainly to the relationships), but not really in a bad way. Plus I liked the ending because it kinda left it open for you to fill in the blank (not like a cliffhanger, though, no worries).


“The sky is a storybook. Every constellation’s like its own fairy tale.”

“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.”

“When you make sense of the chaos, the chaos disappears. Or maybe, what looked at first like chaos never was.”

Overall Assessment

Plot: 5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Jessi (Geo)

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6 responses to “Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

  1. Melanie Z

    I love it when book make you think, this one certainly made me ponder for sometime. But I agree, Abby was rather irritating and the love interests were rather lame.

    I loved the ending too! It wasn’t like Requiem, but it was open in the way that was actually necessary and loveable.

    Awesome review, Jessi! <33

  2. I loooved Caitlin! She was so sweet! I love how she was such a smart nerd, that was awesome!

    I do kind of agree with you about the romance. I wasn’t that crazy about it. I just wasn’t psyched about either guy.

    But overall I’m glad you liked the book! I looooved it!

    • *fist bump* Any time I read a book now I wonder, What would Ashley think of this? Baha. I’m always tempted to tweet you when I don’t like something and ask if you’ve read it!

  3. Caitlin was AWESOME. I did like Josh WAY more than Michael, but I agree with you, Abby had some moments where she was annoying! But ultimately man, this one made me cry and feel a lot, so I enjoyed it, too! Great review, Jessi!

  4. Kelly

    It’s funny, because reading your review I would have expected a slightly lower rating. You must have really loved the concept in order to get past how much you seemed to dislike the Abbys!

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