Author: Beth Revis
I loved this book. Sure, some parts were flawed and the writing was rather amateurish in some instances, but at its core this book was fully entertaining. Granted, I haven't read too much dystopian books except for The Hunger Games trilogy and The Sparrow, and it is unfair to compare it to either of them. Across the Universe really had that extra special something that I find lacking in other pieces of young adult literature. Imagination.
The first chapter paints a picture of a future where, apparently, people are choosing to become cryogenically frozen for 300 years aboard a space vessel headed towards a new planet. Amy's parents are very important to the terraforming of the new planet so they must go, but they allow Amy to make her own choice. It puts her in a difficult situation of having to choose between her parents and everything else she has ever known. The reader is immediately drawn to Amy's emotionally turmoil and makes a connection with her. The scenes described of the freezing process is somewhat disturbing, yet amazingly vivid and really sets the reader up for a crazy ride.
Cut to an indeterminate number of years later. Elder, a sixteen year old boy, who has grown up only on the ship Godspeed, is destined to become the next leader of the people of the ship. He is being taught by Eldest, the current leader, but Elder feels that he is being deceived. He finds maps withe parts of the ship he has never seen before, and the fact that Eldest is hiding the "stars" from him makes him question Eldest's motives. Elder is unaware of the frozen bodies in a secret section of the ship, but when he finds his way there using an old map, someone is mysteriously unfreezing these people. Killing them one by one unless they can be saved in time. What is the killer's motives? And who is the beautiful redheaded girl that was unfrozen first?
This is one of the few YA books I have read lately that wasn't the same old pathetic characters. Amy and Elder really are people who stand for something bigger than themselves.