Parallel universes became a favourite topic of mine a couple of years ago, when Kasie West published Pivot Point and I suddenly became very interested in the big WHAT IF. What if there was a universe next to ours? What if every choice we made created a whole new universe? What if we all have doppelgangers? The possibilities are pretty much endless, and I love reading about all the different ways your choices can mess things up. Or perhaps fix things, if you are an optimist.
So when it came to choosing the first topic for my new Bookish Guide series (a remake of my incomplete Booktube series, Genre Fix), what could be better? There are quite a few different options out there for you if you want to read about parallel universes in YA, and I expect more will be released in the near future because it’s certainly a hot topic right now.
I would recommend
Also known as the book that kicked it all off, Pivot Point is a story about a girl who is struggling to make a choice, so she uses her powers to look into the future and see which choice would be right for her. We follow Addie as she experiences both lives in the two universes, and we see running themes and some really creepy parallels between the two. If you haven’t read Pivot Point yet then I really don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life. Get on that!
A Thousand Pieces of You is a newer novel which was released at the end of last year. It’s the first in a series, and it’s about a girl whose parents basically invented a way to travel between worlds. Marguerite’s father is killed, so she has to travel between worlds to avenge him. She travels to all sorts of different places and locations, including freakin’ Russia, and the settings are vivid and thrilling. To be honest, I had a few issues with this book, but I ultimately enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the sequel.
This duology is one of my all time favourites. Although the parallel universes only play a (relatively) small part in the first book, in the second Norris amps it up to a whole new level. I won’t go into too much detail, but in Unravelling the parallel universes are affected in some way, and in turn this is affecting Janelle’s universe in catastrophic ways. The action is non-stop, and if you read it you’ll be pulled into this thrill-ride. You’ll also get to meet one of my favourite book boyfriends, who goes by the name of Barclay. Keep an eye out.
Parallel starts out with Abby wishing that she could rewind her life after one choice in high school changes absolutely everything. Then, all of a sudden she wakes up at the college of her dreams, which is totally different to her ‘real’ life in Hollywood. I loved this take on parallel universes because every choice that Abby’s parallel self makes affects Abby’s life too. This is why parallel universes are so fascinating!
This isn’t my favourite book by any means, but I did really enjoy the parallel universe aspect of 3:59. It was, perhaps, one of the book’s only saving graces. It’s about two doppelgangers, Jo and Josie, who discover each other and the parallel worlds that they’re living in. The plot gets a whole lot more complicated, and it’s very mysterious and fairly captivating. If you can ignore the shoddy romance then I say go for it!
I want to read
- Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
- A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
- Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke
- The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price
- Fair Coin by E. C. Myers
- Tandem by Anna Jarzab
- Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols
- Relativity by Cristin Bishara
- Between the Lives by Jessic Shirvington
- In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
What to Watch
And what list would be complete without some TV and movie recommendations? Parallel universes are rarely touched upon on-screen unless you count singular episodes of TV shows. I have hope that they’re going to become more popular, but as of right now I have a few recommendations for you.
The Butterfly Effect – A lot of people can’t stand this movie, but it’s a good mix of time travel and parallel universes. It’s about a guy called Evan who can travel back in time, and obviously he uses this ability to change things in the past that then affect his future.
Star Trek (2009) – While this isn’t strictly a parallel universe story, it does take advantage of the theme. Certain characters change events in the beginning of the movie which then causes things to spiral and the new Star Trek movies now take place in a separate universe to the original series and films. I thought this was a really clever use of parallel universes in science fiction, as it meant that both universes exist and it’s not a complete rewrite of the originals.
Sliding Doors – This movie stars Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah (BATIATUS REPRESENT) in a true parallel universe story. Paltrow’s character’s future depends on whether or not she catches a train, and the audience sees both options play out on screen. This is a lot like Pivot Point!
Fringe – To be fair, I’ve only seen the first series of this TV show, although I would like to carry on because it’s science fiction and I (obviously) love parallel universe stories. I won’t go into exactly how Fringe uses parallel universes, but just know that it’s an option if you ever want something to watch.