Published by HarperTEEN on May 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
Parallel lives/universes seem to be an “it” thing in 2013 with at least 3 YA releases coming to mind and I for one am not the least bit disappointed because I LOVE the concept of alternative realities and fringe sciences.
Parallel definitely didn’t disappoint either I absolutely loved it and read it over a weekend, it was a really enjoyable book. Just imagine how confused and freaked out you would be if one day you were disappointed with the way life was turning out stuck in Hollywood shooting a movie, then the next day you woke up in a Yale dorm room with absolutely no idea how you could have possibly got there. This is just the start of the slippery slope for Abby our main character who soon discovers that just the simplest of decisions can have major repercussions in the future.
As the concept of the parallel universes and Abby remembering them is fairly complex there is a lot of science and theoretical conversations in this book between Abby, her best friend Caitlin and her academically gifted but kooky and discredited high school science teacher, and I believe these were really well handled. While at times you had to read a couple of pages carefully to fully grasp the concept, overall it was done slowly over the course of the book meaning that you weren’t overwhelmed and you really got a good chance to understand why everything was happening especially as you were being given live examples continuously too!
The characters themselves were fun Abby made some stupid decisions at times but these were all decisions I could imagine anyone possibly making in those situations and the great thing about this book is that you get to see how some poor choices can really alter your future. Abby overall was quite likeable and I enjoyed seeing her in different situations, my only complaint is that she seemed a little too perfect. For a girl who thinks she is nothing special she managed to act in Hollywood, be a brilliant marathon runner, get into an Ivy League school without really wanting to go and also row competitively that’s a lot of very varied talents. Her 2 besties Caitlin and Tyler were great as well and I really enjoyed the dynamics and blossoming love between them. Caitlin was just a great character – I loved her and was devastated at one point when a major rift grows between Abby and Caitlin I actually think I got a bit teary!
Sadly what was perhaps lacking in this novel was the relationships. Both Abby’s have a love interest and both were a little ho hum and though Josh definitely grew on me by the end as his story developed. Michael unfortunately just felt flat and I think possibly needed some more air time to make the reader connect with him. I’m going to leave it at that as it’s really hard to go into the relationships at all without spoiling some of the wonderful OMG moments at the end and trust me there are some great moments especially at the culmination where Abby has an epiphany which makes her realise it doesn’t matter what choices she makes some things are destiny.
“Do you believe in soulmates?” “Ask me tomorrow,” he says.
The last part that I think is really worth mentioning is how beautiful the descriptions of Yale are. I’m not from the US and I don’t really get this whole Ivy League college experience or anything but the descriptions and small tit bits of information given about Yale and North Haven gave me a definite yearning to visit, it truly sounds beautiful, homely – like putting on a nice pair of comfy socks on a cold winters day.
Overall I found this to simply be a great book and providing your willing to read some heavier information dense parts on time travel and parallel universes I believe readers will enjoy it thoroughly!
– Great premise and a story that will hook you in.