Parallel

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3.3
 
4.1 (3)
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Parallel
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 14, 2013
ISBN
978-0062199775
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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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Twists and Turns that Make Your Head Spin
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Abby Barnes has recently had her life turned upside-down. Instead of starting college in the way she had always planned, she has plunged into the life of a budding actress, complete with the heady ego-boosts of impending fame and attention from attractive stars. That is, until her life is *really* turned upside-down when parallel worlds collide...

The complex and sometimes confusing plot didn't deter me from reading to get to the bottom of Abby's story. I appreciate when a complex concept manages to move a story along and has a solid foundation in the author's mind, which is clear throughout the whole of this book. As someone who enjoys attempting to wrap her mind around things like the theory of relativism, I didn't find the time warp-age to be that daunting. The story explores the idea of whether or not we truly have a destiny (in this case, a destiny concerning who Abby is to be with) and how our choices affect that fate. The way Abby goes about trying to figure out the truth and put together the pieces of the puzzle that is now her life kept me turning the pages.

I also adored Abby's love interest Josh--Miller thankfully created a guy in the story who was unique and desirable. Abby's best friends, Caitlin and Tyler, were exceptionally well-written and likeable characters. Without them, however, Abby herself falls flat. I don't know if it is because of her always trying to figure out which future/past/present is actually HERS, but Abby's character was one I could just not grasp. She seemed so shallow, so superficial--especially when it came to guys. She didn't seem to have many core values, and when compared to her dearest pal, it really stood out. I found this surprising because I could sense a depth to the author throughout the book that I appreciated, and could even sense that her values lined up with mine. But creating a character who had very few limits or boundaries made it difficult for me to connect with her, and instead made some of her actions seem inserted to somehow fit in with an idea of typical teenage/college life that may be the norm (or may not) but did not endear her character to me.

Parallel offers a look into what would happen if you discovered the life you would lead had you made one seemingly insignificant yet different choice--what it would be like to know the results of to different choices and to live them out day by day. It is a thought most of us have considered and this story manages to take the reader on the rollercoaster adventure in a captivating, thoughtful way. In spite of my aversion to some of the MC's traits, this ended up being a page-turner and holding my attention.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.1
Plot 
 
4.7  (3)
Characters 
 
3.7  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (3)
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Parallel
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Even though my instincts usually mess up with my reading experience when I end up guessing the ‘twist’, I still rely on it. I can’t help it. It is sort of my gauge if the book managed to wow me. So, obviously I started reading this book with the usual routine of trying to guess what happens next. That was a wrong move. All it did was to confuse myself while I try to debate with myself whether this situation in Abby’s life is the real one or the one that exists in the alternate universe. So after a few chapters, I stopped jotting down notes mentally and decided to go with the flow and read the story. Then I had no idea where this would go.

This was my first book I’ve read about parallel universe. I was literally confused with what’s happening and I hated the feeling of not knowing where this story will go. But after I decided to just read it, I started to enjoy it. Dr. Mann’s explanation, although quite a bit complicated, gave a more realistic feel to the story.

For me, Abby is between the likeable and unlikeable character. The original-Abby’s, who is currently on the parallel universe, has her life dependent to parallel-Abby’s decisions. Actually, she suffers from whatever mistake parallel-Abby commits. But despite her mistakes, parallel-Abby a typical teen that goes on with what she thinks is best at the moment. Having a friend who knows what’s happening to her helped a lot in the story. Sure, it would be more challenging if she’ll do it on her own but I really can’t imagine Abby surviving it on her own. At least Caitlin and their relationship with each other weren’t an exception to the changes that happen when parallel-Abby does something.

With the boys, I’m with Josh with this one. It’s not just the typical I like him better than the other one. One factor was that Josh’s character was given more screen time, therefore I sort of know him better than Michael. Although Michael seems to be a good guy based on the last few chapters, I never had the chance to really know him.

Despite the really complex stuff, the message it meant to deliver (or what I understood) was that every action, no matter how small, would definitely affect your future. Although it also told us that you’ll meet your soul mate, no matter what happens or in any circumstance.

If you’re too confused at first, stop figuring things out and just go with the flow. Parallel is worth your time.
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Logical and magical all in one
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I’ve heard so many amazing things about Parallel, and going into reading it, I was worried that maybe I would be disappointed. But thankfully, I was 100% right to be super excited to read this book. Parallel somehow managed to grab me and never let go until the very end.

The characters were absolutely wonderful. Abby is unique, because she can remember the ‘real’ world – the world based on the choices only she has made. Everyone else seems to only remember the choices and consequences that were brought on by her parallel self. This tension between Abby and her parallel self was really interesting to read and explore. Her best friend Caitlin was so well-written too. It was so fascinating to see how little choices along the way could have such a huge impact on their friendship.

My favorite part about Parallel was how thoroughly thought out the science behind the parallel universes was. Caitlin is a total nerd, and so naturally, she knows exactly who to go to in order to help Abby figure out what’s happening. Dr. Mann does his best to explain the ideas behind parallel universes, and what might have happened that would cause Abby to now be affected by her parallel’s choices. And the crazy part was, it all made complete sense! Instead of the vague, watery science that most YA books will dish out on the subject, Parallel was rooted in true theories, and every aspect of the question was well-explored.

Initially, I wasn’t crazy about either of the romances. I don’t know if you can really call it a love-triangle, as the parallel universe piece makes it a bit unique. Michael and Josh are the two main interests, and they’re about as different as they come. I wasn’t a very big Michael fan at the start, but did eventually warm up to him. Though I will always have a soft spot for Josh no matter what!

I loved the exploration of the idea of destiny. Does Abby have a destiny? Can the parallel screw that up? Does the parallel have a different destiny? It was all so multi-layered and deep, and I loved how much it made me think about the entire concept. Overall, this was an incredible book, and you absolutely will not regret pushing it to the very top of your reading list!
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Love the Melding of Sci-Fi + Contemporary
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Whoa, this book loves to twist your mind. I’m not even sure how to review it without giving anything way because it’s incredibly layered and one of the main themes of this book is how everything is interconnected. We can’t truly differentiate between “small” decisions and “big” decisions because there is no such thing as a small decision. I really appreciated the way this book assumed intelligence on the part of the readers to follow the logic behind how Abby’s choices affected her two parallel selves.

I think it’s safe to say this book is science fiction, with the parallel universes and all, but at heart I think it feel a lot more contemporary than I expected at first. Abby has to deal with going back and forth between the parallel version of events, but a lot of the conflict centers around family, friends, and boys. Speaking of, I really liked the way Abby’s friends and family members were portrayed as fleshed-out characters of their own. Caitlin is a supportive best friend, though I will say I thought her character was just a tad overdone. She’s incredibly smart(a scientific genius, really), looks great all the time, and has one academic flaw(dyslexia). Caitlin’s character felt a little to characterization-by-the-book for me, but Caitlin and Abby do have a really solid friendship that I enjoyed reading. Abby’s family isn’t a huge part of the book, considering for quite a bit of it she’s away at college, but during the events when Abby was in high school, there were no cases of the mysterious absent parents here.

I will warn that there is a love triangle in this book. I didn’t mind the triangle at all though because it’s not really a triangle. . . more of a parallelogram? Because Abby has a love interest, and her parallel has a love interest, so they interact with each other(I’m not good at explaining this, but the book does a slightly better job, though you definitely have to stop and think about it). So even if it’s not exactly a love triangle, there are two love interests. They were both all right, but I really liked one(Josh), while finding Michael just kind of . . . meh. He wasn’t a bad character, but he did seem kind of bland.

Even though Parallel was a page-turner for me, I will say this is a book I would only recommend on certain conditions. I really liked it, but I think it’s going to be a polarizing book–I don’t see many people being on the middle ground with this one. So, a few warnings of things that came up in the book that I think might be off-putting to some people: there’s talk of soul-mates(it wasn’t instalove or sickening like I sometimes find this concept, but I know some readers really don’t like those words), all the kids are really, really smart(a little unbelievably so), and this book does sort of mess with string theory, which doesn’t bother me because I know nothing about string theory, but it might ruin the experience for you if you actually know your physics.

The Ending to this book was definitely a “whoa, what just happened?” moment in a good way. It was so twisty and awesome–it might be one of my favorite ending I’ve read in any book this year. It’s perfect. I liked the book a lot going into the ending, but the last few paragraphs erased any remaining doubts in my mind that this was an awesome book.

Final Impression: Parallel was not at all what I was expecting it to be, but I really enjoyed it. It was less sci-fi than I thought it would be, but I actually enjoyed the way Abby interacted with her friends, family, and the male characters. It was a page-turner and I never wanted to putting down. Also: BEST.ENDING.EVER(OK, maybe not ever, but I really like it). Really 4.5 stars, but 4 stars for categorization’s sake.
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