Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Genre: Teen/YA, Science Fiction
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Amy is a teenager with a very big decision in front of her: does she follow her parents and enter cryogenic stasis, where she will remain for 300 years and help her parents colonize a new world, or does she stay behind on Earth,in a familiar, safe place?
Elder is living on board the ship Godspeed, second in line to the leadership, behind Eldest. But Elder is still a teenager and has much to learn about the secrets of the Godspeed and whether he agrees with the tyrannical rule of Eldest.
Across the Universe can easily classified as either a science fiction or dystopian novel (or both) about the Earth’s future, and specifically, about humans’ future on one little ship. While dystopian novels have been ubiquitous in YA lately, this book sets itself apart from the others. Revis does an incredible job with building this future world, with crafting the history of the Godspeed. From the beginning, the reader knows that something isn’t quite right. There are things going on that we don’t know about; Revis drops tantalizing hints as to what might be going on just underneath the surface. The more you think you know, the more questions come up. I absolutely loved the way the story unfolded. Enough questions are answered to satisfy the reader, but Revis leaves enough unsaid to make the reader long for the second book in this planned trilogy.
The character of Elder was very appealing. He was just a teenager, but in a lot of ways, he was so much older than his years. He is just coming into his own over the course of this book. He acknowledges that there are sacrifices that he has to make as the future leader of Godspeed, but he balances that against his moral compass. I appreciated that, unlike many characters in YA novels, he didn’t place romance at the center of his world.
Amy was a little more frustrating for me, though I can’t really specify why. In a lot of ways, she creates drama for herself, which is unnecessary because there is so much going on around her. She behaved much more like a typical YA heroine, though even she didn’t seem as interested in romance, which, again, I appreciated.
I’ve said Across the Universe is a unique book, but I want to reiterate that. I loved the setting of a spaceship and I was thrilled that the center of the novel was the mystery behind the world that Revis created, rather than the romance of two characters. While this might turn off some fans of YA novels, which I could understand, it makes it much more accessible to me.
Across the Universe is the first in a trilogy, and I already can’t wait to read the next book. Revis has hooked me, both on her characters and on her science fictional universe, and I can’t wait to see what twists and turns she takes the reader through next.