ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published May 14, 2013. HarperTeen. 423 pp.
“Parallel” takes the interesting thought “I wonder what my life would have been like if I didn’t…?” that we’ve all mulled over at some point in our lives. In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey gets a chance to see what life would have been like if he’d never been born, and didn’t like what he saw and experienced. In “Parallel,” Abby’s life takes a turn for the weird on her 18th birthday when a parallel world crashes into her known world.
The Abby from the parallel world has a completely different mindset of how to live her high school and collegiate years, as well as who she plans to date. Our known Abby has some scattered memories of the Parallel Abby’s world, but finds that Parallel Abby’s decisions are affecting her life, and not in a good way. When Parallel Abby takes over, Abby has gaps in her memory and finds herself falling in love with the wrong guy, losing her best friend, and on a career path not of her own choosing.
As Parallel Abby’s decisions begin to overtake her life, Abby’s confusion increases. Caught between the love of Parallel Abby’s life, and the love of her own life, Abby has to choose to change her destiny or let Parallel Abby’s life and choices become her own.
I loved the conflict and multiple layers of complexity brought forth by both Abby’s and the supporting characters in “Parallel.” I’m sure students aged 14 and older have also wondered what their lives would’ve been like if they’d made different decisions. “Parallel” will give them the opportunity to explore those thoughts.