Across the Universe
By Beth Revis
(Razorbill, Hardcover, 9781595143976, January 2011, 416pp.)
The Short of It:
Across the Universe has a lot going on in its pages, but teen readers will have a hard time putting it down.
The Rest of It:
Amy, her parents, and a host of others are frozen in a type of extended sleep until they arrive at the new planet. Their trip is expected to take three hundred years. For the duration, the folks on Godspeed, the ship transporting them, are in charge of creating new generations while on board, and preserving the folks that are living as frozen cargo. Except, they aren’t doing a good a job of it because there is a murderer running around unplugging everyone before their time.
As entertaining as this book is, and as fun as teens will find it, it contains almost “too much” information and goes in too many directions. It’s dystopian sci-fi (my favorite part), but it’s also a mystery, a thriller, a love story, a coming of age story, fantasy and an action adventure tale all rolled into one.
The feeling I had while reading it, was that the author wanted it to be many things. I get that. It’s a first novel and I can see why the author would want to guarantee wide appeal. BUT, it was almost as if the author just chose a storyline from a stack of cards and then went with it, but only to a certain point. Then another card was chosen, and so on and so on. An unfortunate situation for this adult reader because I really enjoyed the characters and wanted to know more about them, but once you started to know something of importance…the story would veer off into a different direction.
In the author’s defense, teens do have a very abbreviated attention span and it is geared towards young adults, of which, I am certainly not. So I understand that what I found frustrating, might not even register with a teen. I do want to say that there is quite a bit of sex. If your son or daughter plans to read this, you might want to have a talk with them about it before they start. It’s not overly gratuitous, but they are trying to create new generations and there is a lot of mating going on as the seasons change.
In summary, my favorite part of the story was the whole freezing/planning for the new planet. There is a riveting scene where Amy is frozen for the trip and that scene literally gave me goosebumps. I wish the story had continued along that line, the colonization of the new planet, etc. On the flip side, I could totally see this playing out in movie form. Overall, a good first attempt at a genre I seem to be liking more and more each day.
Source: Borrowed from the library.
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