When I was reading Parallel by Lauren Miller for the 3rd time I started thinking about other books and moments in them that could have lead to a parallel time line. Not always the big moments, but smaller things that could have changed the whole book if the character made a different decision. I mean I understand that decisions were made to further the plot, but what about those decisions that weren’t made? What would have happened if there was a different outcome?
This idea lead me to contacting some people that I know loved Parallel when they read it and I asked them to come up with a book where they think things could have turned the story around drastically. Lauren (Bookmark Lit), Ashley (Nose Graze), Jaime ( Fiction Fare) and myself have all picked books and moments in each book where we think things could have changed if something different happened. I am warning you, SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED in from each book so tread carefully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lauren: THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO by Huntley Fitzpatrick
This is such a fun prompt! The only bad thing is my bookish memory. For the life of me, this is the only book I could come up with. Heads up to people who haven’t read it yet – there are some fairly big spoilers from here on out. The premise of this story is that Tim starts falling for Alice… right when he learns that he apparently has fathered a child. This girl that he doesn’t remember comes out of nowhere with a baby and basically says “surprise!” From the beginning, I thought this was sketchy. I don’t see the point in writing a book if the entire premise can be washed away with ONE simple conversation… or in this case, paternity test. Throughout the story, Tim automatically assumes the child is his because of his features (cleft chin, red hair). It’s a fairly safe guess because they do look the same… but still. I always wonder what could have happened in the rest of the book if Tim just took a paternity test early on, instead of growing attached to the child. I can see why Fitzpatrick included that plotline for the book because Tim had A LOT of growing up to do. But, if he had just taken the test, maybe she could have moved the story in a different direction.
In reality I see that sometimes this is how things go and knowing Tim this is why he would just act without thinking it through first.
Ashley: The Winter King by C.L. Wilson
I’ve decided to go with The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. At the beginning, Khamsin’s brother Falcon goes to Wintercraig to “negotiate treaties” with the king, Wynter. This trip ends up setting the stage for the whole novel because Falcon ends up running away with the king’s betrothed, murdering the king’s brother, and stealing an important book from their kingdom. The story that follows is the revenge over that act.
Khamsin wasn’t given the chance to go with him, but I wonder what would have happened if she had. If she’d gone with him, there would be two possibilities: either she knew about the plot to steal the book or she didn’t. But let’s say she did. Stealing the book was the least of the king’s rage; he mostly took his revenge over the death of his brother and heir, and running away with his betrothed. If Khamsin knew about Falcon’s goal to steal the book, I bet she would have at least tried to talk Falcon down from the awful things that came as a result of stealing it. Maybe she could have convinced him to not take the king’s betrothed. Maybe she could have helped him come up with a better idea other than using murder as a distraction to cover his theft. Maybe that would have spared the king’s brother’s life. Sure, Wynter may still have been pissed, but I don’t think his reaction would have been as strong as it was otherwise.
Had the king’s brother not died and his betrothed not run away with Falcon, the huge war may never have happened. Khamsin may not have been forced to marry Wynter to help end the war. Khamsin may have lived out the rest of her days in Summerlea. Although, despite saving the kingdom from war, I imagine Khamsin would have enjoyed this alternate life a lot less than the one she actually got in The Winter King!
Jaime: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
I’m not going to lie… part of me just wanted to use The Kiss of Deception for this feature and say that instead of taking off right before her arranged wedding, she simply stayed and got married, but … well I think that we might not have had that amazing story if that was the case.
So instead, I turned to one of my favorite books The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett. This book you guys… it’s beautifully written with unique characters and so much banter and swoon! But as I was rereading this, I realized that there are quite a few moments where our main character Bex has to make a choice about something that could totally have changed the outcome of the whole story! Instead of going to see Willy and asking about Jack does she go straight home… Instead of finding him at the Zen Center does she decide to forget about him and move on? These are all things that could have definitely changed the outcome of this story, but I decided to go with something I think that had a bit of a smaller part of the story but a much bigger impact. At one point, Bex turns to her brother Heath for some advice and in doing so she had to explain what Jack was doing and who he was. That one choice has a profound impact on the last third of this story for so many reasons because it causes Jack to admit some things to his parents, it causes a rift between Bex and her mom, and it causes Bex to focus on a different aspect of her scholarship project.
Had Bex not divulged the information to Heath, so many things may have happened differently. Sure, Jack and Bex may not have had to contend with angry parents, the threat of separation or a slight rift in their growing relationship… but I also think that Bex wouldn’t have had the opportunity to mend the relationship with her father or expand her art in a way that impacts as many people as it does when all is said and done. So they would have had fewer bumps along the way, but Bex would be struggling to make college a possibility, Jack would have the things he had done still hanging over his head and they would still be dealing with family issues that were causing so much stress in their lives.
I definitely like the way Bennett wrote it instead!
Andi: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
There is a moment in Anna and the French Kiss where I think things could have changed drastically for Anna and St. Clair. They are in a weird place right before Christmas break. They are being super snippy and awkward with one another. So much so that their friends comment on it. Trying to be better they realize they are on the same flight from Paris to Georgia so they decide they will travel to the airport together. When St. Clair knocks on Anna’s door there is no answer and he thinks she has left. In fact she has overslept and wakes up with his knock and they scramble to get to their flight on time.
I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Anna never heard St. Clair knock and she never made that flight. They were in such a weird place and that flight changed everything between them in a way I can’t really say (you have to read to find out). It was a minor point that was pivotal for their friendship and if it never happened they way it did, where would they be? Would they have gotten back on track when they got back to school or would things still be strained and awkward? I tend to believe it would have been okay, but you never know in a parallel world.
Like the quote in Parallel says:
Your path will change. Your destiny doesn’t.
A huge thanks to Lauren, Ashley and Jaime for helping me out. This post was a lot of fun.
Do you guys have any moments you can think of in a book that could alter a characters path but not their destiny?