“ACROSS THE UNIVERSE,” by Beth Revis, Razorbill, $17.99 (young adult)
The sign of a good book is one you don’t want to put down. And Beth Revis‘ “Across the Universe” is one such book.
My first exposure to “Across the Universe” was a promotion on 1/11/11, the day it was released. The promotion allowed people to read the first 111 pages of the book for 11 hours.
It didn’t take me 111 pages to get hooked. In fact, it probably took less than 11 minutes. I probably had my copy of the book ordered within a half-hour of starting it. And once I had an actual hard copy in my hands, I didn’t put it down until finished.
Amy’s parents are being cryogenically frozen, and she has a choice to make — join them and remain frozen for 300 years until reaching a new world or live out the rest of her life on Earth without them. It’s a hard decision, but ultimately Amy joins her parents.
The cryo experience is not what Amy expected, but then neither is waking up early. Fifty years before Godspeed’s scheduled landing Amy’s chamber is unplugged and she nearly dies. She can’t return to her frozen state, the process would kill her. So she’s stuck on a ship where nothing makes sense.
Everyone and everything on the Godspeed has a place and a purpose. Everyone looks similar and do as they’re told — quite different from Amy’s red hair, pale skin and constant questions.
Sameness is what makes things work says Eldest, the ship’s leader, but Elder, his teenage heir, isn’t so sure. He finds Amy enchanting rather than dangerous. He wants Amy to trust him, but all the secrecy leaves her ambivalent. Can Amy solve Godspeed’s secrets? And will Elder help her, or is his loyalty to Eldest too strong?
From it’s amazing double-sided cover to its complex story line, there’s nothing I didn’t like about “Across the Universe.” I’ll admit there were a few parts that surprised and maybe shocked me, but that’s one of the reasons I like the book so much. There’s nothing so over the top to put me off, but some great eyebrow-raising moments definitely came into play.
Beth’s ability to make her characters believable is impressive. I really felt Amy’s pain and sense of loss, and Elder’s confusion and frustration as the next appointed leader. This may have been an imaginary world and place, but it had the depth and weight needed to give it substance, making “Across the Universe” one of my favorite books of the year so far.
On a side note, I got to meet Beth while moderating the Salt Lake stop of the Breathless Reads tour, and she’s just as cool as her book. She’s friendly and funny and really knows her stuff. And I love that she kills off characters named after students she doesn’t like. It was great fun to meet her and I hope I have the opportunity to interview her soon.
Also, when Beth signed my book, I asked her to sign on her favorite page. Can you guess what it is? Email me your guess, and if you get it right, you might just get a prize.