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Across the Universe Hardcover – January 11, 2011

Book 1 of 3 in the Across the Universe Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Across the Universe (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595143971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595143976
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (485 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: As the spaceship Godspeed travels toward a new earth, the lives of 100 cryogenically frozen settlers hang in the balance after someone endeavors to quietly murder them. The other passengers aboard the ship have never known life outside its walls and are enslaved by the machinations of Eldest, their tyrannical leader, who divides them into three distinct classes. When Amy, a frozen settler from earth, survives being thawed in a murder attempt, she immediately bonds with Elder, Godspeed's lone teen and future leader. Amy’s individuality, her rebellion, and her fierce desire for freedom, inspire Elder to act on his own doubts and defy Eldest--his mentor and keeper--with shocking results. Eldest’s methods of twisting history and altering the lives of this captive community are a frightening echo of tyrants in our own history, and Across the Universe challenges readers to consider the impact of unchecked power, blind trust, and the ability of one dissenting voice to make a difference.-- Seira Wilson

Preview the Spacecraft in Across the Universe
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

In Across the Universe, Godspeed is a vast spaceship, the size of a small county. The lives of its passengers are severely regulated. And people are divided into three categories--Feeders, Shippers, and Keepers--represented by the three levels of the ship.

From School Library Journal

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

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Customer Reviews

The story is told from the alternating points of view of Amy and Elder.
The book begins with Amy about to be frozen in cryogenic sleep for a 300 year journey on the ship Godspeed.
I highly recommend this book if you love YA/science fiction/adventure/action/mystery.
Lynn Worton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 167 people found the following review helpful By dizzyweasel VINE VOICE on January 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies?"

The tag on the cover hints that the book should be cataloged under 'thriller,' while the cover itself, a boy and a girl a breath away from kissing, suggests YA romance. In truth, this book is neither. The premise is solid: Amy is frozen with her parents for the maiden voyage of the Godspeed, a vast spaceship flying across space to reach a new planet, only glimpsed from afar. The earth is somehow doomed, so the Financial Resource Exchange (a conglomeration that governs the world in lieu of countries) is sending military and scientific personnel to the new world on a chance that it could be made livable and safe. While the elite colonists sleep, a 'crew' of 2500 settlers will be born, work, and die for 300 years as the ship sails through space. Amy, however, is mysteriously woken up 50 years ahead of schedule, nearly dying in the process. Everything has changed: the people are monoethnic, there is no free will, and difference has been eliminated. The people have given up all control to a governing system of an Eldest and an Elder, the two oldest people of their respective generations on the ship, and go about their lives in a mindless stupor, interrupted only by 'mating season,' the one time in a generation the people go into an animalistic sex craze to create the next generation. The only people who act 'normal' are the inmates of the mental ward, where Elder lives. But when Amy comes among them, the regular workings of Godspeed are thrown into disarray.

So far so good. Amy's sinister awakening is reminiscent of the creepier moments of Event Horizon or Sunshine.
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50 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Biblibio VINE VOICE on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This world has seen some bad books. "Across the Universe" is one of them.

When I try to organize my thoughts about this one, I'm surprised at how across the board they are. "What went wrong?" I have to ask, staring at the lovely purplish cover. "Where did the book fall apart?" Well, in my case, quite literally at the seams (the paperback copy I checked out of the library literally fell apart in my hands). It's a book with some potential, but nothing further - a mildly original take on a wildly cliched setting, several dull-as-doorknob paper-cutout characters, choppy writing, bad pacing... oh, the list goes on. Let's begin at the top.

Seasoned sci-fi readers will immediately recognize the cliche that is the setting - a settlement spaceship, traveling for hundreds of years with its frozen passengers below while a crew mans topside. It's always been an interesting premise, I'll grant that, and furthermore Beth Revis places an intriguing (and currently popular) twist on this familiar story by throwing it into a classic dystopia. But there's another fault - there's a textbook mad dictator, a predictably bland leader-to-be hero (Elder) and his equally dull romantic interest (Amy). The story only truly begins with Amy's arrival into the new futuristic world, but this happens much too late in the book to be of any interest. By this point, I've concluded that Elder is a pretty boring narrator, that Amy is just whiny (plus, I know she's about to wake up, so the suspense is of the false variety...), and I've managed to figure out about two thirds of the "mystery" elements that appear later in the book.

The premise quickly begins to come undone, particularly as Amy joins Elder in true narration.
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54 of 67 people found the following review helpful By YAHighway on January 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Across the Universe is an incredible debut.

The spaceship Godspeed is massive. So massive, it's a feat of the mind to imagine the whole thing, complete with pastures of grazing cows, a city meant to hold thousands, and any number of nooks and special rooms designed for keeping secrets -- for centuries. And yet, even at that phenomenal size, the oppressiveness is tangible. Beth Revis does an incredible job conveying the scope of the ship, dwarfed by the infinite darkness of space just beyond the rigid walls. There's a scene where Amy goes for a run, and comes up against the edge of the ship -- there's no place to run, she realizes.

Adding to the oppressiveness is the sense of time, and even time travel, as Amy wakes to a world that's long forgotten her and everyone she remembers. All alone in this enclosed fragment of the future, she would give anything to go back, but that time is hundreds of years past. It's utterly chilling. And all the awaits her is another future even more alien than this, on a mystery planet said to support life -- but exactly what type, nobody could verify.

Elder, who voices half the chapters, is a compelling character, easy to fall for. I did wish for more one-on-one scenes between him and Amy to further progress their romance. (no, not in THAT way!) It was a great choice on the author's part to alternate between a girl new to Godspeed's world and a boy who's never known anything beyond it, not even a glimpse of the stars. Eldest, the leader of the ship, was a frightening villain, though less so than the impossible weight of time and space, draping Amy, Elder and the ship in a cosmic, endless shroud.

With a number of surprises including a second-act twist that sent me reeling, Across the Universe is poised to rock the YA world, and it absolutely lives up to that promise. I can't wait to read the second Across the Universe book, and any others Beth Revis writes.

~YA Highway, yahighway (dot) com
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More About the Author

Beth Revis grew up in western North Carolina reading CS Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle. Her debut novel, a sci fi novel for teens who don't like sci fi, is ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (Penguin). The first of a trilogy, it tells the story of a girl born of Earth but cryogenically frozen for a centuries-long trip across the universe and the boy born on the ship who she meets when she's woken up fifty years too early. The complete trilogy is available now. Her next book, THE BODY ELECTRIC, is a futuristic tale about a girl who can alter memories...but someone's altered hers.

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