Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

May 13, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 36 ★★★★½

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.

ParallelParallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen on May 14th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: ARC Tour
Buy the Book
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.

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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!

About Lauren Miller

I grew up in Atlanta. I went to college at Yale and law school at Berkeley, then I got married and moved to Southern California to practice law.

I liked it. But after about a year, I got the itch to be doing something more creative. The itch got stronger. I found myself typing out random bits of dialogue on my Blackberry (remember those?) and pitching story ideas to my co-workers. One of those ideas became a script for a TV pilot. When it didn’t sell, I wrote another one and another one. Soon, I was ducking out of work to go to pitch meetings at studios and networks. It felt like I was getting somewhere.

Then I got pregnant. Unexpectedly. This freaked me out. Not because I didn’t want kids (I did), but because I was afraid (ok, convinced) that motherhood would zap my creative potential.

To prove myself wrong, I resolved to write a novel in the first 100 days of my child’s life and blog about it, an experiment I called “embracing the detour” (if you’re looking for an embrace the detour fridge magnet, I’m your girl. If you’re looking for old embrace the detour blog posts, click HERE). At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea. Looking back, it makes me laugh at the childless version of me.

Then again, she’s the reason the current version of me ended up with a two-book deal at HarperTeen. And my very first script sale (but that’s a whole other story).

Thanks to to Kristyn Keene at ICM and Sarah Landis at HarperTeen, my debut novel, Parallel, hit bookstores on May 14th. My second novel, Free to Fall, will be out next Spring.

Embrace the detour was my foray into blogging. Over time that morphed into this. Whatever this is. Not a blog exactly. A life-log of sorts. A place to remember and reflect. And, yes, a place to update readers about my novels. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place! Follow me on Twitter to keep up with the latest. Or email directly to say hi, which you can do HERE.

(To access the links from the bio, please see the author’s website:

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

36 Responses to “Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller”

  1. Jasprit

    I too am loving stories dealing with parallel worlds. I never paid much attention to Parallel until I read a couple of great reviews for it last week. But I love how differently the author has worked with the concept. I think this is definitely something that I would enjoy. Wonderful review Sara! 🙂

  2. Brandi Kosiner

    I enjoyed seeing how the two timelines wove together. The two romances were easier for me to deal with because it wasn’t at same time.

  3. tigerlilyrachel

    I’m definitely into parallel worlds this year too. I haven’t read this one yet, but the concept sounds a bit like Pivot Point? Hopefully it’s not too similar because that would just be unfortunate. I’m glad you loved this one so much. I think despite my reservations I’ll have to give it a try.

  4. Aman

    Now I’m super excited to read this book! One more day! Alternate universe is my favorite kind of world too, but I’ve never read a book where it was done correctly and left me speechless. I’m hoping Parallel is the one to do that for me. Great review, Sara!


    I’m so glad you liked this one so much, I’m very excited for it! The idea of parallel universes fascinates me, and I’m glad you loved the characters too! 🙂 Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  6. Christina

    Love triangles can be really unfortunate, but this sounds like the kind that I love to read, one where the heroine is actually torn about her decision and both guys have good qualities. I’m starting this one tomorrow I think. Excited!

  7. Lauren Elizabeth

    I’m excited to read this one because I love stories with parallel universes and alternate timelines. I think one of the only instances a love triangle doesn’t annoy me is when it’s a story like this, where there are two different lives entirely. I’m happy you enjoyed this so much (getting a hard copy after reading the ARC is a great sign, that always means major book love for me). I’m very much looking forward to reading it. Amazing review! 🙂

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      Yes, I found the triangle didn’t bother me. It wasn’t until towards the end where I realized it was time for sides to be picked and I was sad about it. But the lead up to that was really good.

  8. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    Yay I’m really glad you liked Parallel. I want to read it because I’ve never read a book with a parallel universe. I’m glad it wasn’t confusing since there’s two timelines. I wish the beginning of the novel wasn’t slow though. Do you think this book will be a trilogy/series?

    Little Book Star

  9. Rachel

    I have this one too, Sara, so I’m thrilled to see you really enjoyed this. I’m glad to hear the world is not overly complicated to the point of distraction. I hate that because I feel it drags down the plot. I can’t wait to see who she picks! Great review. 🙂

  10. Lindy Gomez

    Wow Sara! I enjoyed reading your review! This book sounds like one of my favorite movies, The Butterfly Effect! I love the whole cause and effect, what if aspect! This book sounds really intriguing, and I am adding it to my TBR 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  11. Krista

    This one looks so good! I’m so glad you liked it. And even though the beginning was slow it did get better 🙂 I love parallel world books, and I read that this author is very into science stuff — so it seems like she did it justice. It’s being bumped a little higher on my TBR pile for sure! Great review, Sara 😀

  12. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    Hmmm. Parallel worlds in books is a big turn off for me. But I like that this one is explained in a way that is believable. I’m also very nervous about the love story in this one. I see that it’s not a traditional love triangle, but I think it would still bug me. Is this part of a series? I think I’ll hold off for now and see how I feel in the future. I personally hope that parallel books aren’t going to be the next big thing, but I’m glad you are!

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      It’s a standalone so it may be okay for you, well, if you ever read it. I can’t imagine too many parallel worlds books will come about because I’m sure they will start feeling too alike, but for now I’ve loved all that I have read. 🙂

  13. starryeyedjen

    No kidding…parallel worlds are hot right now. But I don’t think I’ve read one yet that I didn’t love. I have this for review, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Glad to see those 4 1/2 stars, though!

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