Imagine for a moment that your life was spent bouncing from one unwanted foster family to another. Your care provider never took your side in any argument. You never had a family for more than a year or two. You never really knew what family meant, at all.
Etta Fleming has lived that life. She’s lived with snobs, egomaniacs, even monsters. Her latest stop on her miserable journey is the Dominion House; a boarding home that is sterile and uninviting. Her only ally is her friend, Jaime, who is the big, silly grin to her brooding misery. The two girls go through life in typical teen misery. They’re picked on by the popular girls at school, tormented by teachers, and sheltered away into a dull corner of the world. One visit to the local coffee shop changes all that, as Etta meets the handsome and secretive Cooper.
Their chance meeting becomes much more as Etta finds herself taking chances, hoping to bump into him once more. Cooper shows up right on cue, and takes Etta for a drive where he reveals an incredible secret. Etta is living in an alternate reality, and Cooper has come to take her back to the reality where she belongs. That’s when author Claudia Lefeve steps on the accelerator, giving readers bites of information without revealing the big picture in store for Etta, Cooper, and their supporting cast.
The cast of Parallel is a mix of Archie comics and Dr. Who. Lefeve writes Etta very well, and really captures the voice of teen angst without adding too much Emo and poisoning the pot. Her high school has jocks and losers, popular preppies and wannabes. The politicians and powers-that-be weave their webs of deceit in the shadows; launching a hundred possibilities in multiple realities. Lefeve uses alternating point-of-view to help readers relate to her characters. She conveys Etta’s tone very well. Young adult readers should easily relate to the troubled teen.
Lefeve explains the Washington, DC area and its suburbs with deep knowledge. She provides plenty of details without drowning the reader in description. This skill shines, particularly in her descriptions of Old Town Alexandria, VA.
There are some mistakes; the usual result of anyone’s first self-publishing attempt in modern times. There aren’t enough to be distracting, however. At $2.99, there’s plenty of fun, adventure, tension and romance to make Parallel an enjoyable read, and leave readers excited to read more of Etta’s journey.
In a modern age where the YA market is flooded with vampire clans, werewolf packs, and even the zombie apocalypse, Parallel provides plenty of sci-fi and romance without needing the end of the world as a plot device. Doomsday may be in the cards later in the Travelers series, but Parallel survives just fine without it.
The eBook includes excerpts from Stacey Wallace Benefiel’s book, Glimpse, the first book in the Zellie Wells Trilogy.
The Travelers Series continues in Book Two: Paradox.