Posted on September 1, 2013 - by katy
Scholastic, June 2013
Abby Barnes has a Plan. The Plan. She’s going to a great college to study journalism, then get her first job on a paper by the time she’s twenty-two. She has been crafting the perfect college admissions profile for years. But a chance occurrence leads to Abby being forced to take a drama class, and her life plan skews wildly out of control. In September, instead of starting her first semester at college, Abby is on set in LA after a casting director spotted her in the high school production. Life is not going to plan at all – and one morning, she wakes up to find herself not only in an unfamiliar bedroom, but in a new reality, a parallel universe in which she chose to study astrophysics instead of drama, a single choice that led to a completely different chain of events in her senior year of high school and after graduation. Every time Abby’s parallel makes a choice, her world changes all over again as the ripple effects of that choice have knock-on consequences.
Confused yet? You will be, but don’t let that worry you. Parallel is a wildly confusing book, and it’s next to impossible to keep track of all the events and choices that lead to Abby being bumped around in space-time, landing in different realities. However. You have to just let go of your confusion and enjoy the ride, because the crazy plot is held together admirably well by a cast of extremely well crafted characters and Abby’s strong and entertaining leading narrative voice. It’s not only Abby’s parallel’s choices about the big life issues that have such a huge effect on her, but her decisions about whether to intervene in the love life of friends, whether to talk to the cute guy in physics, whether to go to her boyfriend’s house for dessert at Thanksgiving or stay at home with her grandparents.
I lost track of what was going on at times, it’s true, but that genuinely didn’t have a detrimental effect on my enjoyment of the novel – I think it’s all part of the book’s charm. Parallel will definitely strike a chord with its YA audience – so many of the decisions they have to make at that age are held up as being incredibly important and life-changing, and this book explores the whole idea and that period of your life really well.