First off, many thanks to Andi for hosting a Twitter giveaway for an e-book of Parallel, which is how it came in my possession sooner rather than later (though honestly, I would have bought if I had not won since it was 1.99 that day!). Oh, and thanks to Nikki for retweeting Andi’s tweet so I would learn about the giveaway. 😉
I’m going to warn you up front that there will be spoilers and a LOT of GIFs (like way too many to be tasteful, but I couldn’t help it…), all from Fringe and Star Trek, because duh, parallel universes. Oh, and a lot of ranting about Abby’s decision making abilities and Michael. You’ve been warned.
First, let me talk about Abby. I liked Abby well enough, but sometimes it felt like she had multiple personality disorder. One minute she’s shy about the idea of sex and works hard to make good grades, the next she’s having “rated R” thoughts about a guy (her words, not mine, BTW) and getting drunk (underage, I might add).
I liked Caitlin. She was consistent, interesting, a good friend, and it was completely believable, based on her background, that she would be able to help Abby figure out what was happening to her.
Tyler, he was just OK to me. He was kind of fun, but he sounded more deviant than Abby and Caitlin, and I guess that bothered me.
Characters are usually a big thing for me in stories, but what kept me reading this book was the plot. It was so intriguing. Abby is living out a life in LA after she chose drama class over astronomy (I felt this was a bit extreme, even with the explanation given, but anyways…), when she suddenly collides with the parallel universe and becomes cosmically entangled with her parallel self who was late to class on the first day of senior year and ended up in astronomy. Or something like that.
Through Caitlin and Dr. Mann, Abby gets an idea of what’s happening, and tries to live her life the best she can while still retrieving her parallel’s old memories and getting up to speed with what’s happening in her life currently. And to make it more complicated, it changes frequently as her parallel self makes different choices. There was so much changing and this happening and then that and then things would get worse that it seriously stressed me out! Not to mention the choices Abby would make in her present circumstances that she thought were best for whatever reason but, well, hardly ever were.
I think this book could have been separated into two parts…
PART ONE: Abby Makes Poor Decisions.
Examples of this are: getting drunk, getting drunk around boys who want sexytime when she doesn’t, hanging out with questionable boys when she’s sober, trying to screw up her parallel’s life by quitting things she (the parallel) likes and doing things she (again, the parallel) doesn’t care about, etc.
PART TWO: Abby Makes More Poor Decisions: The Relationship Edition
Examples of this include: Lying to her friends, saying stupid things to people she cares about, lying to her family, hanging out with Michael, etc.
OK, let me go ahead and talk about Michael, because I have a lot to say about him.
Michael is a complete loser. I don’t even know why Abby spends so much of the story trying to like him or saying that she likes him even though he puts her in uncomfortable positions, does not communicate well or even bother to define a relationship, and acts like a total d-bag to his family with basic zero justification. Even though it seemed really obvious Josh was right for her, I was still terrified she might end up with Michael. And if the book had ended that way, it would have gotten less stars. But what still drove me up the wall was this little number…
Josh is my soulmate and Michael is my parallel’s.
I’m sorry… What the what? No seriously… WHAT?! WHAT?!?!??!?!?!
First off, what kind of sense does this make? I’m not saying there couldn’t be a parallel Amy out there happily with some other man who is not the husband I know and love, because I think I could be happy with someone else. I don’t intend to find out, but I believe I could be. But in what universe is it acceptable to dump your amazing boyfriend for his d-bag older brother because (paraphrasing what Caitlin said Abby said)…
I knew I was supposed to be with you from the moment I saw you treat your family like crap at Thanksgiving.
Here’s the deal, I still don’t know what exactly I believe when it comes to free will versus predetermination (or in Christian circles, the latter, in terms of salvation, is known as predestination/Calvinism, which is actually briefly alluded to in this book when Abby reads the John Calvin quote in her philosophy book, but I digress). What I know is that when my husband and I were dating, I felt like he was “the one” for me, and I won’t get into all the exacts of what that looked like for me, but I also unequivocally believe, as I said before, that I could be happy with someone else. I also completely believe love is a choice. I can “fall in love” with someone who’s a total jerk, but I can choose to walk away from someone who isn’t good for me. And I can choose to love someone who is good for me. I’m not talking about forcing yourself with a good guy that you can’t stand personality wise, but if you fall in love with someone, and then one day those warm fuzzy feelings are gone, you can choose to continue loving that person. Parallel Abby, as far as I’m concerned, had a choice, and Michael did not have to be her “soulmate” because of some gut feeling she got at a dinner table. And Not Parallel Abby made her choice, I think for largely the wrong reasons (but at least it was a better choice), to go and find Josh and try to get back with him.
So basically, to sum it up, my feelings about Michael…
And my feelings about Josh…
Thank goodness Narrator Abby chose correctly… even if she had to make a million other bad decisions first.
OK, I’m done ranting about Abby’s poor decision making and Michael. Despite all this, I actually really liked the book a lot. The way parallel worlds were presented in this book I think was one of the best interpretations of the idea I’ve seen so far. And it made me think A LOT. It’s nice when a book makes you think so much. The book also made me laugh quite a few times; I tweeted out a few of these quotes, including:
And one more thing I want to know… was Parallel Abby living out Narrator Abby’s life for two months in LA? What happened with her and Bret (talk about another potential bad decision right there)?
But ultimately, the good outweighed the bad, even though ABBY DROVE ME CRAZY SOMETIMES. And Michael drove me crazy ALWAYS.
Also, I hope I never know what my parallel self is up to.
What are your thoughts on Parallel? Please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t stand Michael!
Content Advisory: Some language (but no f-bombs), talk about sex but no sex scenes, underage drinking.