When Miller’s debut novel opens, Abby Barnes has put off college to star in a Hollywood blockbuster alongside an A-list movie star. On the night before Abby’s 18th birthday, two parallel worlds collide, and Abby wakes up as another version of herself, one attending Yale with her best friend Caitlin, but who still has memories of her “other” life. In addition to this dimensional shift, Miller also shunts readers between Abby’s life at Yale and her senior year of high school, unpacking the altered events that led to her Ivy League future in this universe. Each chapter opens with a datestamp, which should help readers feel (a bit) less lost than Abby, as she tries to understand her condition with help from a Nobel-winning physicist, while more anomalies pile up. While each chapter provides a compelling excerpt from Abby’s life and shows off Miller’s storytelling skills, strung together they don’t create an entirely coherent narrative. Readers will likely find themselves flipping back and forth and rereading passages, trying to keep up with the unfolding changes in Abby’s life. Ages 13–up. Agent: Kristyn Keene, ICM. (May)
Best. Debut. Novel. Ever.
Wildly inventive and wonderfully romantic, PARALLEL takes readers on a journey that will open their minds and their hearts.
Penetrating, jaw–dropping, and so real, PARALLEL had me turning pages at warp speed, hoping for the best tomorrow. Read this book.
A fun, twisty novel about the paths you choose and the paths you don’t…to follow your heart’s desire. Deeply romantic and entertaining!“
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, VA
Parallel worlds collide to life-altering effect in this soft–sci-fi novel. One minute Abigail Barnes is shooting a movie in Los Angeles opposite "Cosmo's Sexiest Guy Alive," and the next, she's waking up in a Yale dorm room with a roommate and life she doesn't recognize. Thankfully, Caitlin, Abby's science-genius best friend, is also a Yalie. Together they conclude that Abby's strange, new reality is the result of an "interdimensional collision" of two parallel worlds. Sound confusing? That's just the tip of the iceberg. Further complicating the situation, Abby (and readers) must come to terms with the fact that she is now permanently linked to another Abby who exists in a separate physical world. The choices that this parallel Abby makes directly affect the world in which this Abby exists. This gets especially tricky when it comes to matters of the heart. Desperate not to lose her newfound love, Abby must race against time and her parallel self in order to regain control of her destiny. While the premise of Miller's debut novel for teens offers an interesting take on universal themes of love and fate, and the characters are likable enough, the science at the heart of the story is mind-numbing. Furthermore, the constant back and forth between parallel worlds will likely make it difficult for readers to ever truly feel invested in the novel's romantic core. A miss. (Science fiction. 14 & up)
Thought–provoking, romantic, and so, so smart, PARALLEL is an absolute must–read for anyone and everyone who has ever wondered, What if?
PARALLEL beautifully tackles the universal themes of fate, destiny, and the search for a soulmate, proving that there are no wrong turns. Your heart will soar and you’ll be cheering at the end.
An intricately–woven story about free will, parallel universes, and cute boys. Miller nails the inner snark of the high school senior, as well as the confusion of figuring out just where your life is supposed to be headed.