Saturday, September 7, 2013

review: parallel by lauren miller

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On the first day of senior year, Abby is faced with a choice: Drama Methods or Principles of Astronomy. She chooses Drama and winds up starring in a Hollywood film instead of going to Northwestern for Journalism as she planned. Or at least that’s what happens in one universe. In another universe, Abby takes Astronomy when all the Drama spots are filled up before she even gets to school. Abby was late because of an earthquake which turns out to be what causes the two worlds to collide. But here’s the thing: unlike everyone else, Abby remembers her parallel life—she’s the anomaly her Astronomy teacher’s been looking for. In the Astronomy world, Abby attends Yale where her high school best friend (a science whiz) is as well. The decision to go to Yale (which Abby doesn’t even remember making) turns out to be what causes the two lives of Abby to collide spectacularly during Thanksgiving break.

I expected the two parallel worlds, but Parallel became confusing because Lauren Miller created a third that had never really happened because one world was a year and a day behind the other, so things were constantly changing in the later world because of choices Abby made. It became difficult to keep track of what actually happened. For example, high school friends Tyler and Caitlin are dating when Abby first wakes up at Yale, but as the days go on and different choices are made in the high school world, the two never end up together which erases what had previously happened in the college world.

Despite confusion that didn’t clear up for me until I was about halfway through (about the same time Abby figured it out too), I enjoyed Parallel for its demonstration of how small choices affect your life later. The characters evoked emotional responses and were relatable though Abby and Caitlin displayed a little more cattiness than one would like to remember from their high school days. But Parallel was a little clich├ęd in that what really mattered to Abby in the end was which boy from her two worlds she would be with.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Harper Teen.

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