I received this book for free from ARC Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by HarperTeen on May 14th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: ARC Tour
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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.
Move aside dystopians, parallel worlds has taken over as my favorite concept to read about! Parallel was added to my TBR the instant I first read the synopsis and saw the cover and I was not disappointed in the least!
Parallel starts off by introducing us to Abby, who is in LA filming a movie instead of attending Northwestern like she had always planned. But on the morning of her 18th birthday, she wakes up in an entirely different life, one where she is now attending Yale, no movie career in sight. Each chapter fluctuates between the new present reality Abby finds herself in, and exactly a year prior, which is setting Abby on this new course.
I couldn’t explain all of the science behind this collision of parallel worlds that takes place in this novel if I tried, but I was able to get a good enough grasp to follow along with the story well. Occasionally details would go a little over my head, but I usually expect that with these sort of reads and it wasn’t enough to retract from my overall enjoyment and ability to follow along. Obviously we are seeing events happen on two very different timelines, but how everything weaved together was super cool, especially upon completion when I could look back at how it all came together as a whole. There’s a very interesting play on ‘what-ifs’ and ’cause and effect’ going on, which I absolutely loved! New decisions made in the past would affect Abby’s present in an entirely new way, almost as if it were being overwritten. She could wake up in a new place with new friends or hobbies that she has only vague memories of because it was evolving as the story went and Abby was sort of blind to the changes, only receiving these new memories as the Abby in the past lives them. This often left poor Abby feeling very vulnerable and to blame for how these changes affected those around her, especially since she was so very aware of what could have, or should have, been.
Because we are dealing with two different time periods, we do see a romantic element develop in each, obviously with two different guys. In this new version of her past, Abby meets Josh, a classmate in her Astronomy class. Their relationship was the type where I could see the connection, but it took a little time for these two to get their act together. The uncertainty of feelings made it feel very genuine for high school, in a cute way. In the present, Abby meets Michael at Yale and they sort of hit it off right from the start in a more mature manner. No games, just feelings. It doesn’t feel so much like a push-pull love triangle at first, but it definitely grows into one. I was so hooked because even though I had my favorite, I really thought both boys were great for Abby and I had noooo idea which direction she would go. I can’t say I 100% understand why Abby makes the decision she does at the end. I agree with it, but I found her reasoning to be confusing.
I did find the beginning of the novel to be a little on the slower side as it sets us up and gives us some background on Abby and her life. But once I developed that basic understanding, it was an exciting and fun read! I was addicted and highly entertained. I loved the characters, I loved the plot, and I loved the writing. Will I be going out and purchasing a final copy? You betcha!