Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

parallel -lauren millerYour plan changes. Your destiny doesn’t.

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, 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.

4 Drink Me Potions

We are more real than real, said Abby to Josh, a guy whom she only met through her parallel self taking a different path than she did.

Alternate realities and parallel worlds can be so complex, but Lauren Miller did a fantastic job with this novel. Parallel is just indescribable, in the best way possible.

You ever wonder what it would have been like if you’d just done something differently? For Abby, the decision that set her on two different trajectories in life between her parallel worlds came down to this: taking drama or an astronomy class as her last-minute elective in her senior year.

Parallel alternates between Abby’s senior year, following her parallel self experiencing a different set of events after having to take astronomy class instead of drama, in which that path would have led her to becoming the Hollywood actress she remembered she was from her “real” life, and one year later where she finds herself in Yale. Now, if that doesn’t get complicated enough, every time her parallel self makes a different decision, it could cause HUGE rippling effects onto the reality that Abby is now living with as a student at Yale.

This novel explored how even the smallest decisions or events could have led to almost-lost friendships, or could-have-been moments with someone special. Not only that, but it looked into fate (we have a reason for living) and ultimately, what our destiny is even with the ever-changing realities.

I could gush forever, but Miller’s debut novel was absolutely fantastic. With Abby as an amazing protagonist trying to remain “independent” of her parallel self while dealing with a setting that could change at any moment, it made living the day to day all the more important. The conclusion of the novel was stunning, in the sense that it also covered the topic of soulmates. What if her parallel met someone who could love her in a way no one else can, but Abby in her other life chose differently and thus hadn’t met him? What then?

The answer was simple. Our path or trajectory in life may change based on our day-to-day decisions, but something destined in our lives will find its way. And that’s exactly what happened in Parallel. The ending was perfect. Sure, it was a little bittersweet, but it was still so romantic. Being able to find that someone for you even when it first came through as only memories from your parallel self, that speaks of a love that’s more real than real, with real suggesting it stays true even across realities.

At the end of the day, this novel handled everything amazingly. It was clever. Wildly imaginative and creative. I will end off with one of my favourite quotes from the book.

“Abigail Hannah Barnes,
You changed my life. A year ago today, when you walked into it. ‘Are you here by fate or choice?’ you asked me. I said choice. Now I know better.

Overall Recommendation:
Parallel was an absolute fantastic read. It explored so many philosophical elements, from our changing fate when making decisions in life to the ever-present destiny that we each are supposed to hold and possibly that one person (our soulmate) that lies somewhere in our world to find. It asked questions that made you really think. What if you had done something differently? Would your life have changed in ways you could never imagine? Could you miss out on meeting your soulmate if you made the wrong decision? All in all, this novel was deeply romantic and thoroughly explored elements we can all relate to. A definite page-turner & 100% recommended