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Parallel Hardcover – May 14, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–Abby has two memories of the day before she turned 17. In one, a schedule mix-up means she has to take drama. In another, she's late for school, and drama's closed, so she has to take astronomy. Two choices, two very different lives. One leads to being a movie star, the other to being an Ivy Leaguer. On that day, parallel universes collided. Then, the day before she turns 18, movie star Abby jumps to the universe to live Yale Abby's life. The problem is, she only remembers her LA life, not the one in New Haven. Luckily, her science genius best friend is at Yale and can fill her in on her own backstory and explain the mechanics of what's happening. Miller shines when describing the university's campus and the students' daily lives, including the partying and drinking. The time and universe jumping is initially confusing, but quickly settles into a pattern. Readers have seen the teen's different lives, and like her, have ideas about what the “right way” is, even if all of Abby's attempts to escape destiny and exert free will backfire horribly. Her lack of knowledge about her recent past and what happened to create her current life draws readers in. As the story unfolds, it's in seeing what's constant across realities, and in seeing the different paths laid before her, that Abby learns what–and who–is truly important.–Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Abby never expected to be starring in a Hollywood blockbuster and dating a leading man on the night before her eighteenth birthday. She had always planned on a different path, one that included college. Well, she gets her wish: she wakes up in a dorm room at Yale, where it appears she has been for weeks. With the assistance of her friend Caitlin’s knowledge of parallel universe theory, and a helpful professor, Abby soon realizes that a cosmic shift has taken place. The narrative shuttles back and forth in both time and location between Abby and her “parallel,” leading Abby to discover that the smallest decisions can lead to drastically different paths. While the narrative jumps take some getting used to, Miller ably depicts Abby at different points on her journey, with complex side characters and a cleverly nuanced romantic triangle. Adding questions of quantum mechanics, predestination, and soul mates to the day-to-day friendship, family, and boyfriend issues firmly situates this debut next to Cat Patrick’s books or Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall (2010). Grades 8-11. --Heather Booth

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062199773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062199775
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Lauren Miller wrote her debut, PARALLEL while on maternity leave from her law firm job and blogged about it, an experiment she called "embracing the detour" (also the name of her blog). Many people told her she was crazy. When she realized they were right, she told no one and kept writing. Her second novel, FREE TO FALL, was nominated for YALSA's 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults reading list.

Born in NYC and raised in Atlanta, Lauren now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. You can find her online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This book was unlike anything I have ever read. It has an amazing plot, with sweet romance, and a fresh new take on a YA Sci-fi book.

Opening Sentence: I hesitate, then point my gun at him and pull the trigger.

The Review:

Abby Barnes is currently living in L.A. shooting a movie. If you had met Abby a year ago you would have never imagined that she would be on a set in L.A. Her dream was to attend Northwestern and become a journalist, but a crazy set of events landed her where she is now, and she's not the most happy about it. At the beginning of her senior year she had a schedule change which landed her in Drama class. She tried out for the school play and one thing lead to another and now she is filming a major motion picture. What would have happened if Abby had taken a different class than Drama, well she is about to find out.

Abby wakes up on her 18th birthday to a life she doesn't belong in. She went to bed last night in L.A. and woke up at Yale University. Supposedly she is a student there, and the last year of her life is completely different from what she remembers. She has a faint memory of the first day of her senior year and it happens to have changed, there was an earthquake and it made Abbey's parallel worlds collide. Instead of taking drama, Abbey took astronomy and it changed the entire course of her life. As Abbey goes through her life she realizes how a small decision can change the course of your life.

This book is told from multiply points of time. At parts Abbey is at Yale and living life as a student and at other times Abbey is back in her senior year of high school.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sara @ Forever 17 Books on May 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Celeste Pewter on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Two-minute recap: Lauren Miller takes the the idea of parallel universes, and completely turns the concept on its head. Parallel incorporates the themes of self-identity, love, friendship, and cosmic entanglement, all into a stunner of a debut novel.


Full review:

I've always been fascinated with the idea of parallel universes. The idea that there's another me, existing in another dimension, making choices and taking a path that I wouldn't have taken myself, generally makes for a lot of fun what-ifs scenarios.

In Parallel, Lauren Miller takes the question of the what-if, and brings it one step further. What if, instead of a simply having a protagonist jump between two universes (e.g. Me Vs. Me because of magic/wishing/pure chance/the unexplained, the protagonist's parallel-existence is the result of something scientific?

What if it's the result of a cosmic entanglement? And what if, instead of set parallel universes, one universe is constantly impacting the other one?

That's the fascinating idea explored in her debut novel Parallel, and it's something you're not going to want to miss.


On her eighteenth birthday, reality comes crashing into Abby Barnes - literally.

After a series of serendipitous accidents involving high school play, Abby is now working on a major Hollywood film. She should enjoy it - she's being pursued by the hottest guy in Hollywood, and is a budding starlet.

However, all Abby can think about is how she would much rather be at Northwestern getting ready to study journalism, like she always planned.

But after a night out with her group of Hollywood acting friends, Abby goes home, expecting to wake up to more of the same in the morning.
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