In Claudia's case, I read the sample of her book Heir, which later became Parallel, and was intrigued enough to beg to be on her beta reader list. To my excitement, she accepted, and that is what I'm going to talk about today.
Because I am a beta reader I'm not going to give Parallel a traditional review. I don't know if that would be considered "ethical", which is why I wouldn't ask MY beta readers to review my book. Usually betas are people you like and root for, and I'm sure that could be considered a conflict of interest. However, since I do think Parallel is WORTH talking about, I'm going to at least feature it here on my blog.
It's always nerve wracking, being a beta reader. There is certainly a lot less pressure, since the product involved is a work in progress and the author generally WANTS feedback. But it's tough. I've done it a few times, and there are a couple of times that I've pretty much didn't like the books I read. I had to put aside my subjective feelings and give constructive feedback without telling the author involved that I thought their work was crap and that I would be surprised if anyone liked it. I know that seems harsh, but again, we can't always read the books that are intended for us. I'm sure that some of the books I've read weren't even remotely written for me, as a reader, so I take it all in stride. As I do when someone else has the same reaction to MY books. You can't please everyone.
So it was with some trepidation that I received Parallel. I wanted to like it SOOOO bad, you see. Thank goodness, I can say with all honesty that I LOVED it. Sure, there were some inconsistencies and plot issues, because Parallel was a work in progress. Having read the final version, I can assure you that she addressed all of them and more. She even added more words, which was my overall comment. Give me more book, dammit! :)
Parallel is the story of Etta, orphaned girl and foster home hopper, who finds herself endowed with powers most humans only dream of. In the course of this story, she will have to hop through dimensions, use her powers to find her real family, and try to discover the true identity of the mysterious, yet sinfully handsome Cooper.
I LOVED the idea of this book. The world Claudia creates is so fascinating. I have never read anything like Parallel in YA fiction before. She manages to describe the differences in worlds perfectly, yet she also leaves enough mystery to leave you clamoring for the next addition in this series.
My other favorite part about Parallel is the romance, which is again, so far from the usual YA fair, that it's a breath of fresh air. I'm so tired of teeny-bopper love, and this has all the makings of mature, passionate love. The two characters are perfect for each other, but this book gives them the time they need to fall in love, and save the world, all at the same time.
If you don't like cliffhanger endings, you might want to wait for the sequel to Parallel, which is supposed to by out by winter, at the latest. But the ending to this book is so fabulous, you might want to give it a chance anyway.
In summary, this book is a winner and though it is still too short for my taste, I highly recommend it! Also, if you want to tag along on her blog tour, stop by Claudia's website for a list of all her appearances!
PS- Okay, ROWers, I'm up to 99,036. Yay me! I've been taking advantage of New Baby's early rising time to feed him and then write my fingers to the bone. I will finish this dang book!!