- Title: Parallel Lives
- Author: Lori Lucero
- Genre: Urban Fantasy
- Format: e-book
- Source: Author
- Reviewed by: Erica, Guest Reviewer
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: If Jen can’t get back to her usual self, she’ll end up having to do everything all over again. Jen is a thirty-seven-year-old middle-school teacher in 2012. Overweight, underpaid, in debt, and with a bitter divorce pending, Jen wants to start over.
Then Jen is hit by a car. When she awakens, she is a thirteen-year-old kid with her same parents and siblings, but it is still 2012. Initially Jen resists accepting her new reality, insisting that she is thirty-seven years old. However, faced with the possibility of confinement to a mental health ward, she is forced to play along.
Jen struggles to understand her situation. She jumps on every possible source of information until she stumbles upon some discussions in theoretical physics regarding parallel universes. Could this be what happened to her? She contacts a quantum physics professor, who tells her he can help her go “home”, thus leaving her with a major decision. Should she stay and relive the pain of adolescence, but have the chance to make better life choices? Or should she return to her highly flawed but familiar life?
Review: This was a very enjoyable read overall. Jen is your fairly typical 37-year-old – struggling with her weight, disillusioned with her job and right in the middle of a nasty divorce, while all the while her biological clock is ticking. The beginning of the book throws you right into this, when Jen is having a fight over the phone with her soon-to-be ex-husband about (of all things) custody of the cat.
All of that is enough to get you lost in thought frequently, and on one of those occasions she steps out in front of a car. Cue some floating in darkness, and the next thing she knows she’s thirteen again, but she still has all of her memories, and rather than being a teenager in the eighties she’s now a teenager in 2012.
What I liked about this book was that rather than giving no explanation for this at all, or the explanation being something vaguely magical, the cause of Jen’s switcheroo is down to quantum and parallel universes. The science behind it sounded a bit lightweight to me, but of course I’m not a quantum physicist.
Other things I liked: the fact that Jen doesn’t just go back to her childhood, but instead becomes a child in the same year as she was 37 in. It was a neat twist on the time-travel thing. I also found her thought processes quite believable, as in how she reacted to the switch and how she subsequently dealt with it and felt about it. The writing itself was easy to read and I flew through the book quite quickly.
I did feel that the dialogue was a little wooden on a few occasions (by no means always), and there seemed to be little point to Jen’s sister Melanie other than to be a sometimes slightly annoying kid sister. Still, a good effort on the whole.