Friday, July 5, 2013

Parallel by Lauren Miller

For Abby Barnes it was just a normal day on the movie set with a little partying in the evening to celebrate her (almost) 18th birthday.  She never expected or wanted to become an actress, but through a twist of fate her dreams of college turned into a reality of acting in a movie with one of Hollywood's biggest leading men.  When she wakes up from a night spent dreaming about earthquakes she discovers that she is no longer on the way to fame and fortune in Hollywood - instead she is a student at Yale, a school she never planned to go to.

Confused and more than a little disorientated by the difference in her life as opposed to the real life she remembers, Abby reaches out to her bestfriend Caitlin to try and make sense of what is happening.  The explanation is both freakishly simple and freakishly scary - there has been a collision between parallel worlds and the events in the other world have become their new reality, and only Abby seems to remember that there ever was another reality.  As her parallel makes decisions Abby discovers that things can change over night, and only she can remember a difference.  Uncertain about what will happen next, Abby clings to what she remembers and grows increasingly resentful towards the "other" Abby, the one she sees as ruining her life.  But are things as simple as Abby believes, or is there more to her story than meets the eye.

Parallel is both incredibly slick and clever, but also intriguing and addictive.  At first it took a few chapters to really sink into the story and what was happening, but once I did I didn't want to put the story down because I wanted to know what the "other" Abby was going to do and how it would change the situation for "real" Abby.  The subtle changes in the alternate reality made some quite huge changes for Abby, and at other times things hardly rippled at all.

This is one of those books where explaining too much about the story has the potential to ruin the plot for people - so I won't say anymore about the plot.  At times the story did feel a little "clunky" but for a debut novel there is an amazing amount of polish and I look forward to seeing if Miller continues as an author and what she is capable of as this is a very promising start for an author who doesn't cheat her audience by taking sort cuts and using cheap clichés to keep her story moving.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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