Released: May 14, 2013
Source: acquired ARC
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
My local used book store has a rack of books free with purchase. That's where I found an ARC of this baby last week, which I had read something about on someone or another's blog earlier that day. I recognized the cover, read the back, and searched the store to finds something, anything (it's not difficult,) so I could get this book.
Abby Barnes has a life plan: graduate high school, go to school for journalism, and be a famous journalist by age 22. Her life plan changes, though, when she signs up for a Drama class as an extracurricular, is discovered, and becomes an actress in L.A. But her life is changed again suddenly when an "earthquake" strikes and parallel universes collide. In one world Abby is an actress in Hollywood, but in the other she's a student at Yale. While most people are unaffected, Abby retains her memories from both parallel universes, leaving her confused and with a year plus a day gap in her memories.
My first impressions, aside from the cover which I love, were a little mixed. The first chapter was a little bit of an info dump, but it was an interesting info dump. I was drawn in right away by Abby's quick rise to fame - a dream several high school girls have, but Abby wanted something more. The second chapter threw me for a loop right away. Abby wakes up at Yale, clear on the other side of the country, with no memory of how she got there. The chapters alternate between Abby's two worlds, each unique but with parallels (hello, that's the name of the book!) but there is a year plus a day gap between Abby's parallel worlds, which means when she's at Yale, she can't remember anything that happened for the past year.
This leads to all kinds of delightful plot twists revolving around who Abby is dating and the state of her relationship with her best friends. I don't want to give it away, but I think Abby really learns a lot about herself as she discovers throughout the novel what happened over the past year. In that way, Parallel isn't just a novel about alternative universes, but also a book about the journey of self-discovery.
Parallel left me with one big question: Is this possible? Is there another me out there somewhere doing something similar, but slightly different? Am I married to a different person like Abby was dating a different person? Is my career different? What if my other life is better and I don't even know it? Regardless of the answers to these questions, they're kind of fun to think about.
Here's a fun fact about me: I never took physics in high school, let alone college. Never once have I ever thought to myself, "I wish I'd taken physics," though at times I have found myself relishing the fact that I was able to skip it my senior year of high school by taking Environmental instead, which was a huge joke of a class that I aced by simply breathing (this is barely an exaggeration.)
My opinion about physics all changed, however, within the first seventy or so pages of Parallel. WAIT, don't stop reading! Don't decide to skip Parallel simply because it involves a little physics. The physics in Parallel (after a tiny bit of research) is fictionazlied, though based on fact, and extremely easy to follow. Still, my interests are piqued. Is there such a thing as Physics for Dummies? Because I want a copy of that if there is. Next stop: string theory.
But I digress... FIVE STARS! Parallel is utterly enthralling and addictive. I can't remember the last time I read a book that caused me to be so enthralled, I was reading the car while running errands; don't worry, Husband was driving. I stayed up until three a.m. finishing this baby, and that hasn't happened since at least Fall 2012. Can you tell I liked it? I loved it. You must add this book to your TBR right now. There's a handy Amazon link below, actually, which you might find useful. As for me, I'll be looking out for more by Lauren Miller.