ARC Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab

December 16, 2013 Review 45 ★★

ARC Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Tandem by Anna Jarzab
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Publisher
Pages: 428
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Series: Many Worlds #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives–infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real–until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love–one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she’s someone she’s not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing–and no one–is what it seems.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


TANDEM was…okay. I still have yet to read Jarzab’s other novels, but I have heard great things about her The Opposite of Hallelujah. However, TANDEM just did not read like a seasoned author’s book, the writing was a bit choppy and hard to follow.

Ah, parallel universes. They are starting to pop up more and more in YA nowadays, and I have to say that the best book that has tackled this the best was PIVOT POINT by Kasie West. While TANDEM had a fantastic premise, it was weighed down by poor execution.

With changing POVs, settings, and even universes that were not clearly divided or announced, this book made me wrinkle my forehead more than a few times. Who was who and what was what?


It was an interesting plot, just hard to follow.

The writing in TANDEM made things even more difficult to understand because a good portion of it was all tell, no show. (She did this, he did this, they moved here, etc) It got pretty bland after awhile.

Still, TANDEM kept me reading. It does tell an interesting story, albeit one that is hard to wrap your head around, but I can definitely see this series going somewhere. If you are a sci-fi fan I would suggest giving this one a try.

Rating Report
Overall: 2

45 Responses to “ARC Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab”

  1. Kezia

    I’m sorry you did not enjoy this :( I agreed that the concept — and the cover! — drew me in when I saw it for the first time but now that negative reviews have been popping out…well, I think I’m gonna skip this since I can’t stand this kind of writing :/ hopefully your next read will be better, Alise! :D
    Kezia recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #10

  2. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    I’ve been eyeing this book for a while after knowing that it’s about parallel universes. I haven’t read Pivot Point yet but one of my all time favorite series is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and it’s also about parallel universes.

    What a shame that this book was ruined by its horrible execution, characters, writing and romance. I hope your next read will be better.

    Great review, Alise!
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…Book Review: Lives Of Magic

    • Alise

      I’m in the opposite boat-I haven’t read His Dark Materials! I had no idea it was about parallel universes.

      Thanks :)

  3. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    I love the concept of parallel universes, but I haven’t really found many books where it’s been done really well. PIVOT POINT was a good one for me, though. It’s a shame that Tandem was more of a disappointment. The reviews so far have been quite mixed, so I probably won’t rush to read it, given everything else on my pile too. I hope your next book is better! :)
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

    • Alise

      Same. Sci Fi in YA is hard to do, period. Pivot Point was an A+ read for me too. Yeah, I had no idea what to expect so maybe that was it. Thanks, Sam :)

    • Alise

      I have to agree with you on the romance and politics-those two kept me reading. The two characters did have some great tension.

  4. Rosa @ Bookish Findings

    Parallel universes is a cool theme, but it can get a bit confusing. I don’t know if you’ve watched the series Fringe, but I loved the first two seasons and then suddenly they changed everything and it got more and more confusing and I must confess I didn’t enjoy the latest seasons very much.

  5. Kim { Book Swoon }

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Tandem Alise :( I actually really enjoyed it. I do agree that the action/story was more tell, and less show. I liked how it Tandem focused on Sasha slipping into the alternate version of herself, and how that had ripple affects in the romance, politics, and alternate realities :)

  6. Aman

    I actually haven’t even heard of this book. I’m a huge fan of parallel universe storylines, there are so many possibilities in that world, but it looks like this one was a disappointment. The switch in the world not being clear would have bothered me too, but I’m reading the premises and just the word “Mulituniverse” alone doesn’t make me want to read this book. Though that gif is killer!!! Love Johnny Depp!
    Aman recently posted…Prank-Tacular Blog Tour + Giveaway: Needing Her by Molly McAdams

    • Alise

      Who doesn’t love Johnny Depp ;D
      You are exactly right-you can do so much with a book like this and I think the author had big plans but just didn’t execute them well.

  7. Wendy Darling

    Oh, no. I was curious about this one, but I think you’ve stopped me with the “changing POVs” thing, that’s such a pet peeve of mine unless it’s done well. I’m a fan of scifi, but it’s good to have my expectations in check if I ever get around to this one.

    Hope your next read is better!
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Dickens Christmas Séance: event recap

  8. A Canadian Girl

    Yes! I’m loving the trend of parallel universes but authors really need to do a better job with the worldbuilding. Pivot Point seems to have been the best novel I’ve read so far.

    I just saw a mini-review for this one earlier and they mentioned pretty much the same points as you, Alise. I guess I’ll be passing on this one.

    • Alise

      Same! Pivot Point is a great read. I agree about world building, and it needs to be explained in a way that is easy to understand and not all at once.

    • Alise

      It is an interesting story if you can keep all the connections straight-definitely a read that requires focus! Thanks!

  9. Sunny

    I really wanted to read this one, but….no. I’ve seen so many negative reviews and I appreciate a complex story now and then, but I don’t want to have a headache and poor execution is always a downer.

    • Alise

      Yeah, after so many reviews come out like that I tend to stay away. Though if you are really interested, maybe consider giving it a shot? You never know!

  10. Rashika

    Yeah, parallel universes don’t seem to work for me. Unraveling and The Shadow Society did a great job but that’s about it and I read both of those books last year. This year, none of the parallel universes books I’ve read work for me. :/

    I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it more Alise!

  11. Zoe N.

    Aww…sorry you didn’t enjoy this more Alise! It’s definitely a shame that the book had to fall so flat for you – it sounds like it definitely had excellent potential! I’ve been looking forward to this one, but after your insightful review I think this will be a miss for me – the writing, characterization and world-building don’t exactly seem like something I’d enjoy. :|

    I feel like maybe the author was concentrating so much on the time-travel aspect of the story that she just didn’t take the time to polish the other aspects of the story, and, as you’ve shown, that definitely comes out negatively.

    Thank you for yet another beautiful and insightful review Alise!
    Zoe N. recently posted…Speechless

    • Alise

      Yeah, I think you could be right. So many ideas and concepts and then maybe she just focused too much on one thing and the others were kind of forgotten.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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