Reviews for Across the Universe


Booklist Reviews 2010 December #2
Revis charges into the something's-wrong-aboard-this-spaceship genre with this cunningly executed thriller. Sixteen-year-old Elder (so named because he will replace Eldest as the ship's leader once Eldest has died) has his isolated world rocked when he discovers a lower level containing dozens of frozen humans set to be defrosted when the ship, Godspeed, completes its 300-year journey to a new planet. One human has been removed prematurely--17-year-old Amy, who alternates narration with Elder--and she is devastated to have been awakened decades before schedule. Amy is plunged into the hermetic weirdness of Godspeed, where each of the ship's 2,312 passengers (or inmates?) is categorized Brave New World-style. With Amy acting as catalyst, Elder begins digging through the lies covering up the crushing truth of their mission. The story occasionally strains credibility (a few locked doors would've effectively shut down the plot), but Revis' headlong brio mostly cancels out these deficits, resulting in a compulsively readable crowd-pleaser. Librarian bonus: the reversible jacket pitches the book to either romance or sci-fi fans, both of whom should have a blast. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2011 January
Pushing the boundaries for teens

Amy was supposed to spend 300 years as a cryogenically frozen passenger on the spaceship Godspeed. She was supposed to sail through space, unaware of her arrested state, until finally being awoken on a new planet. She was supposed to see her parents again. But everything goes wrong when someone wakes her up 50 years before the scheduled landing—and nearly kills her in the process.

Amy finds herself trapped on Godspeed, desperate to see the sky and smell real air again. But it’s not long before she discovers that these are the least of her worries, as most of the passengers on Godspeed follow their leader, Eldest, without a single thought in their own heads. Fortunately, Amy is not alone in this Brave New World scenario. Eldest’s rebellious protégé, Elder, is supposed to be spending all his time learning to be the next leader of the ship, but his interest in Amy seems to highlight more and more of Eldest’s secrets. Now Amy and Elder must race an unknown murderer to save the rest of the cryo-passengers, while Eldest’s thick sheen of lies grows thinner and thinner.

Beth Revis’ debut novel, Across the Universe, pushes the boundaries for teens who feel trapped, whether literally or figuratively. The world Amy encounters lacks the civil values that every teenager should learn as they grow up in modern society, such as free thought, respect for all races and the power of every person’s voice. Even sex has lost all significant meaning, reverting instead to mere animalistic urges. On Godspeed, Revis’ characters and young readers alike must think for themselves or risk the silent, and deadly, consequences.

Copyright 2011 BookPage Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Amy and her parents are cryogenically frozen for a three-hundred-year trip through space to a new colony. After being accidentally awakened, she discovers that other sleepers are being killed. Revis establishes the setting in such a pressing way that readers truly feel the characters[Tue Sep 2 05:13:04 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. ' plight. Taut, urgent prose sustains tension right up through an unsettling resolution that leaves plenty to think about. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #2
The wrenching opening scene of Amy witnessing her parents being cryogenically frozen for a three-hundred-year trip through space to a new colony sets the stage for her agonizing decision: to give up everything she's ever known and join her parents in frozen sleep, or to bid farewell to them forever. Amy chooses to go with them, but when she's accidentally awakened centuries later, planetfall -- and her parents' scheduled reanimation -- is still fifty years away. The current generation of passengers views her with suspicion, all except for the boy named Elder, leader-presumptive of the passengers under the geriatric Eldest. With other sleepers being killed by an unknown saboteur, Amy and Elder try to figure out the pattern of deaths before Amy's parents become the next victims. Revis establishes the setting and the narrative constraints in such a pressing way that readers truly feel the characters' plight: the claustrophobia of shipboard life, the inescapability of Amy's situation, the vast, ungovernable reaches of space and time. Taut, urgent prose sustains tension right up through an unsettling resolution that pits knowledge and freedom against survival and safety, leaving readers with plenty to think about and discuss long after the book is closed. anita l. burkam Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 December #1
An unforgettable opening scene, in which Amy watches her parents climb into glass boxes to be agonizingly frozen alive and then submits to being frozen herself, launches this riveting thriller about space travel, secrets, murder and Realpolitik. Amy's family chooses cryogenics so they can be defrosted when the spaceship Godspeed completes its 300-year journey to a new planet. But en route, in space, Amy's cryo-wires are unplugged early—almost lethally. She wakes to meet Elder, another teen, named for his leader-in-training position. Ironhanded commander Eldest refuses to teach Elder the critical details for running Godspeed, and in scrutinizing the deadly mystery of who's unplugging the frozens, Elder and Amy uncover generations of devastating lies underpinning Godspeed's on-board society. From the ship's windowless metal walls and recycled-air full-farming ecosystem to the people's carnal and oddly synchronized breeding Season, Revis' extraordinary setting is credible and palpably claustrophobic. The two teens' alternating viewpoints, both in first person, divulge information to readers bit by tension-filled bit. Wherever the series goes from here, this opener leaves an indelible imprint. (Science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 November #4

This competent and gripping first novel recycles one of science fiction's oldest motifs: the starship sent to colonize a new world but gone badly astray. Amy, the teenage daughter of two of the colony's future leaders, was a passenger, and was supposed to stay in cryogenic suspension for 300 years until the Godspeed neared its target world of Centauri-Earth, but she is awakened 50 years early--in what looks to be the first in a string of attempted murders of the frozen colonists. There has been a plague among the crew who, generation after generation, were supposed to keep the ship running, and much essential information has been lost. The starship is now ruled by Eldest, a tyrannical old man assisted by teenage Elder, who will eventually replace him. Neither knows why Amy was awakened, but in the monoethnic and heavily sedated society of Godspeed, she represents difference--something Eldest will not tolerate, but which captivates Elder. Revis's tale hits all of the standard dystopian notes, while presenting a believable romance and a series of tantalizing mysteries that will hold readers' attention. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 February

Gr 10 Up--Imagine leaving everything behind in order to be with the people you love, only to be left with nothing. Amy and her parents have been cryogenically frozen to be awakened in 300 years when their spaceship reaches the planet they will colonize. Unfortunately, Amy is unfrozen 50 years too soon. Her parents are too critical to the colony to awaken early, so by the time she sees them again, she will be older than they are. The culture on the spaceship is unfamiliar and everyone Amy meets is either an emotionless drone or lives in the mental ward. But there is little time for her to grieve the loss of her former life, because someone is thawing other colonists and leaving them to die. In order to find the murderer, Amy must join forces with Elder, the teenage future leader of the ship. But all of the inhabitants onboard have been told lies, and there are secrets that even Elder doesn't know. This compelling novel is told in alternating chapters from Amy's and Elder's points of view. Amy is a contemporary character in a fish-out-of-water situation, and her grief and fear are realistically depicted. And as Elder learns the truth behind the ship, he begins to experience a coming-of-age that is convincingly written. The mystery will propel readers along, and the budding romance between Amy and Elder set against the backdrop of a dystopian society will appeal even to readers who don't enjoy science fiction. Revis's thrilling debut novel hints at more great books to come.--Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

[Page 118]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2011 February
Amy is not being forced to undergo cryogenic freezing and join her parents' three-hundred-year voyage to a new planet, Centauri-Earth; the thought of living on Sol-Earth without them, however, is so horrendous that she consents. When she is awakened fifty years prematurely, she is unprepared for what she encounters: a community similar to that in Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993/VOYA August 1993)--people who are mono-ethnic, robotic, unthinking. Elder, the spaceship Godspeed's future leader when Eldest dies, is intrigued by Amy's differences (although Eldest says the first cause of discord is differences)--her red hair, her energy, her independent thought. When three other passengers are found thawing and two of them die, the mystery begins: who is attempting to kill this cargo and why? This begins to haunt Amy and Elder. As they delve into life aboard Godspeed, they uncover more than they bargained for. Might Eldest's iron fist be the right way to rule, or are differences and independent thought to be cherished Revis's debut novel is well written and suspenseful. Readers will understand Amy's concern during the freezing process and after waking up, alone, in an alien environment. Elder, only sixteen, has not been trained to be Eldest, and as he explores Godspeed, he discovers how much is hidden from him. Eldest, as the older generation, is tyrannical, while Elder is open to change. The secondary characters add color to this fast-paced story. Across the Universe will appeal to boys and girls, science fiction fans, and anyone interested in a good story.--Ed Goldberg 4Q 4P M J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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