I always appreciate an ambitious work of art. Even if it wasn’t totally what I hoped for, I appreciate the risk. When I read the premise for Parallel by Lauren Miller, it seemed ambitious, but I was intrigued and hopeful. Parallel universes are a complicated concept, so I was a little weary if I was going into something too confusing or too dumbed down. Luckily, Miller weaves the magics of science, love and destiny into a riveting and smartly plotted story.
Parallel follows Abby, an actress on the set of a huge action blockbuster. Sounds cool, but the thing is this was never part of Abby’s plan. She wanted to be a journalist and dreamed of making that happen at Northwestern University. But after landing the lead in the school play, a talent scout convinced her to audition for a big movie role and voila! She’s being primed to be the next big movie star. Still, Abby can’t shake off her old dreams. Until suddenly on her eighteenth birthday, she wakes up to find herself at Yale University, sharing a dorm with a roommate and making plans to meet up with her best friend, Caitlin. Like any normal person, she freaks out. With the help of Caitlin, a science genius, they try to figure how Abby entered this new reality and what it could mean for her destiny.
As I mentioned… this could’ve been way complicated. And it was complex, but in a good way. Miller maps out a theory on parallel universes almost effortlessly. Being adverse to science, it did stretch my mind in some places, but I did come to completely understand what was going on and why. The way the author integrated this concept into the plot was smart, unpredictable and thought-provoking. It definitely left me wondering about the possibilities of the universe and how malleable or unbreakable destiny can be.
In addition to sci-fi aspect, we get a great story of friendship and love. Abby and Caitlin’s friendship was one of the deepest relationships in the story. It struck accord with me, and I loved seeing them work together, by investigating Abby’s multiverse dilemma. As for the romance, it’s not as prevalent in the beginning as it is until the end. I’ll admit I was feeling apathetic toward the love interests for a while, but the emotion and feeling sort of snuck up on me during a totally shocking and unpredictable moment. (I really did not see that little revelation coming.)
I love how everything came together so fully in this book. I especially love the notion it creates about how unyielding destiny can be. In a way, it kind of blew my mind by the time I got to end.
Parallel is one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read in a long while. It definitely feels more grounded in reality than many other sci-fi books, which I think made it all the more appealing and captivating. Readers will appreciate the complex plot, along with the likable characters. But most importantly, the notions this book makes about life and destiny will resonate with readers, especially those who feel insecure or unsure of what the future has in store for them. We aren’t all like Abby, the girl with the plan. As we learn from her story (although it is fictitious), life doesn’t always go according to plan. Expect some detours.
Parallel by Lauren Miller will be available wherever books are sold on May 14th. Support The Young Folks and purchase the book at our TYF Store powered by Amazon.
Publisher: Harper Teen (May 14, 2013)
Length: 432 pages (Hardcover)
Source: ARC (Provided by publisher)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Friendship, Romance
Completed: April 2013