Review: When Bella decides to travel the world with her best guy friend, Alex, after graduating from college, she doesn’t know it’s a trip that will change her life. In their travels, Bella meets a guy named Clark — a very attractive Australian, who’s also traveling with a friend. Despite her bad relationship history, she takes a chance and begins dating Clark — a slap in the face to Alex, who’s secretly in love with her.
But in the next chapter, Bella is starting a relationship with Alex, who finally after four years of friendship, confesses his love to her. She decides to give him a chance and see where the relationship goes. In the same respect, Clark is taking a chance on a beautiful, blonde, leggy Swedish girl named Beckie, who he meets in a bar.
So are Bella and Clark cheating on each other? No; they’re living in parallel universes. Beyond Parallel tells the story of Bella, Clark, Alex, and Beckie living in two different universes — one in which Bella decides to date Clark, and one in which she does not. In one, Bella settles down with Clark in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, where Clark gets a desk job and Bella becomes a teacher. In the other, Bella becomes a writer, living with Alex in Sydney, Australia, while Clark and Beckie move to New York City to study law and start their careers. As the relationships and professional lives of these four people grow and change over time, it leaves the reader to wonder how much one small decision can affect a lifetime.
Analysis: Beyond Parallel reminded me of a love-centered version of the final season of Lost, where sideways flashes and alternate universes are confusing but cool and fun to follow. Unlike other novels, where the decision is made for you and the girl chooses one boy and that’s it, this novel shows what Bella’s relationship really is like with each of the two men in her life. Rather than going with my gut about who she should be with, I was able to truly dissect both relationships in the parallel words and determine with confidence who she should choose.
Both parallels pair Bella with the same man in the end; a clear theme, showing that even though one decision can change your course, some things are meant to be, no matter what.
Beyond Parallel is a true love story through and through, but it’s also about growing up and making choices, no, life-altering decisions. It may sound like a simple story but it’s one that kept me reading. Once I was better able to keep track of the characters and their multiple storylines, I was so curious to see who ended up with who, I just had to keep reading.
MVP: Clark. Though Bella is the focus of the story, she can be a bit flighty, constantly second-guessing herself. Come to think of it, Clark second guesses things too. But he’s more conscious of it, and he’s a strong character who ultimately realizes what and who he wants, and makes his choice with confidence.
**Matthew Turner’s Beyond Parallel was just launched today! It’s only available in e-book version right now, but I’m giving away a free copy to one of my readers!! Please let me know if you’re interested by leaving a comment here or sending me an email. See my contact page for details.