Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stay On The Other Side of the Mirror

Expected Publication:  May 14th, 2013
By: Lauren Miller
ISBN-13:  9780062199799

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

     Abby Barnes had a pretty great life until she was thrown a curveball - she has to take either drama or astronomy her senior year because her chosen elective was cancelled.  So she takes drama, which instead of leading her to Northwestern for journalism like she's planned on forever, threw her into the lead of the school play.  Then she was discovered and cast in an action movie.  Now Abby is feeling like her life is going in a direction that she never approved of and so she wishes for a do-over.  The next morning she wakes up in a dorm room at Yale with no idea how she got there.  Someone out there must have been listening, because Abby's wish has been granted.  But after the collision that put her in this parallel world happened, Abby is year behind in her memories.  And with her parallel making new decisions daily, every time she wakes up things are different.  With the help of her friend Caitlin and each new set of memories, Abby is able to piece together some semblance of a life.  But when the decisions of her parallel (who is still trying to live by the rules) begin to get in the way of what Abby really wants, will she find a way to forge her own path and take control of her destiny?
     The premise of this book is one of my favorites - surviving when time travel/parallel universes/alternate realities throw things out of whack.  I don't necessarily even require a well-drawn scientific explanation (although that's definitely a bonus factor).  What I do require is a coherent plot, interesting and relatable characters, and a satisfying ending that makes me feel like I didn't completely waste my time as a reader.  This book started out with the first two requirements being met, but things degraded as the plot progressed.  I'm still trying to decide if it met the last requirement in any capacity whatsoever.  Abby, the displaced and disillusioned girl who finds herself in a parallel life was like an alien lifeform to me.  She treated everything that didn't fit into her life plan with complete disdain, was a jerk to almost everyone she came into contact with and don't even get me started on the Josh/Michael debate.  The little plot twist about their connection to each other had me gagging and seeing red alternately.  Her best friend Caitlin, on the other hand, is the best kind of character.  One with faults, but who doesn't let bumps in the road completely derail her.  The evolution of her character was my favorite part of the book.  Well, besides crazy Dr. Mann's lectures and odd little mannerisms/actions.  I felt like most of the side characters were very underdeveloped, with the most cardboard ones being Ilana (the stock slut character), Tyler (the 'sensitive' jock/popular guy), and Michael (the mysterious/perfect boyfriend).  It made the interactions with the secondaries very bland and kind of annoying to me.  When the book was focusing on the disparity between realities and the affect on Abby and Caitlin, it had my attention and interest.  But when it became completely centered around 'soulmates' (Bish PLEASE!) and who was in love with who, it really took a nosedive.  By the time it ended I was completely disgusted and mad that I hadn't quit reading it earlier on.  The full circle idea for the ending was a good one, but the destiny concept pissed me off so bad I couldn't see past my anger/disdain.  Such an easy out for an author!  Overall, if you like romance and EXTREMELY light sci-fi, this might be the book for you,  Especially if you believe in using people like your own personal toys, without remorse and in predestination.
VERDICT:  2/5  Stars
*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via Edelweiss. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is May 14th, 2013.*

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