Monday, June 10, 2013

Reviews: Pivot Point by Kasie West and Parallel by Lauren Miller

Thoughts on the Novels: The theme of parallel universes/alternate realities seems to be a growing trend in YA. So much so, that HarperTeen released both of the debuts that I recently read – Kasie West’s Pivot Point and Lauren Miller’s Parallel. As such, rather than reviewing them separately, I’ve decided to a compare and contrast type of review.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Set up of Plot: As a Divergent, Addie has the ability to Search how two options presented to her can affect her life on a day-to-day basis for however long she chooses. When her parents tell her they’re divorcing and her dad will be leaving the Compound to live in the Normal world, Addie decides to Search which parent she should live with. Chapters therefore alternate between how Addie’s life would be like were she to live with her mom versus if she were to live with her dad. Essentially, it’s like reading two stories at once, with some common events between the two. 

Protagonist: Addie is someone I can totally picture being friends with! She loves to read, is organized, doesn’t care about popularity, and prefers hanging out with a smaller group of close friends than going to something like a party. 

Worldbuilding: In Pivot Point, the Para-community does its best to ensure that its existence is kept a secret from the Normal world. They hardly interact with Norms, and appear to be mentally and technologically more advanced. 

Romance: Since I thought Trevor, Addie’s Norm friend, was sweet, and disliked Duke, Addie’s romantic interest in the Compound; I hoped that Addie would opt to live in the Normal world because it seemed like her decision would ultimately be based around a guy. So, I was pleasantly surprised that Addie’s choice wasn’t influenced by a guy in the end. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Set up of Plot: In Parallel, two universes collide, with the alternate universe being a year behind in time of the present one’s. As a result, alternating chapters reveal how the older Abby’s current circumstances are affected by her younger alternate’s decisions every day. Like the older Abby, I was constantly confused as to what was going on in the beginning because details of her reality kept changing. But, I liked how Miller showed that even a small choice can change a person’s course of life dramatically. 

Protagonist: I was never able to form a connection with the older Abby. Meanwhile, alternate Abby was sort of nosy and seemed kind of dumb. Who thinks it’s a good idea to walk around barefoot in a construction zone?! Also, both versions of Abby seemed to develop crushes very easily. 

Worldbuilding: By far the best part of Parallel was the theory behind alternate universes because Miller explains the physics in such a simplistic manner. 

Romance: I didn’t really care which guy older Abby ended up with because neither captivated me. There was also lots of talk about soul mates, a concept I don’t believe in. 

Overall Comparisons: Despite the fact that both Pivot Point and Parallel have very romance-centric plots, it’s a lot more obvious in Parallel. That, combined with West’s engaging writing and my preference for Addie over Abby means that I’m more likely to recommend Pivot Point over Parallel. Where Parallel wins though is definitely the worldbuilding. 

In exchange for an honest review, Parallel was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.    


  1. I've been dying to read Pivot Point, and I'm thrilled to see a good review for it from you. I think it definitely sounds like a solid read. Thanks for the awesome thoughts! :)

  2. Books about soul mates often seem to lead to insta love, which I just hate. And both of these sound like they have love triangles too. I'm not really a fan of books with alternate universes like these so I don't think they'd be for me. Glad you enjoyed them though. Lovely reviews :)

  3. I never managed to finish Parallel for some reason. Although these stories are essentially pretty similar, I enjoyed Pivot Point a lot more - but even there, I struggled with the focus being on the romance.
    I'm glad you liked both.
    Great reviews.

  4. I love this idea of comparing and contrasting, Zahida! I read Pivot Point a while back, and while it was interesting, I wasn't the biggest fan. I'm happy to hear that you liked it more than I did! Addie choosing her path, regardless of the boy she liked better, is a really good point that I didn't really realize until reading your review. As for Parallel (which I haven't read), the worldbuilding definitely sounds incredible. But Abby doesn't sound like the protag for me... Thanks for the insightful reviews, Z! :)

  5. I love that Addie's choice wasn't influenced by a guy! So refreshing. :) Pivot Point has been getting a lot of praise, so I really need to pick it up soon. The mc sounds lovely and the plot seems unique. Brilliant review!

  6. YAY PIVOT POINT!!!! I loved that one so much Z! I can't wait for book two to see where things go after the decision she made:) I was really impressed with the world building and the explanation for everything in Parallel too, very cool:)

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  8. Pivot Point is one of my favourite reads of 2013!! Loved the world building and I agree, I was happy to see that Addie's decision is not only about the boy. Loved the mystery factor!

  9. Such a good idea to have a compare-and-contrast style review! You lay out the differences between the two very helpfully. It sounds like Addie would probably also be the one I'd relate to more easily, and yay for life choices not based around a guy! :D The premise of Parallel sounds a little more confusing but I'm glad to hear the worldbuilding is solid. Thanks so much for giving me a better idea of what to expect from each of these!

  10. Oh, excellent, this was dead useful to me because I have been curious about both of these parallel universe stories, but unsure which one to prioritize. It's funny how the protags' names are so similar! Anyways, the stories seem to have different strengths, which makes it a bit tricky. On one hand, I do quite like good world building. On the other hand, I think Abby would frustrate me more. And the romance in Pivot Point is more more style. I think Pivot Point would edge out Parallel for me, as well! Thanks so much for these reviews!!

  11. I've got Pivot Point from the library ever since I saw it reviewed on Jenny's and Maja's blogs. With your 4 star rating, I'm also really hoping that I enjoy it too. It sounds like something I would enjoy. Parallel, on the other hand, seems like a great idea but needs more work on the execution part of it.

  12. I can definitely picture being friends with someone like Addie. I just loved her personality! Parallel doesn't sound like a bad read, but I'm in no hurry to pick it up. Lovely reviews, Z. :)


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