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Across the Universe Paperback – November 29, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 555 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Across the Universe Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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
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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.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Across the Universe (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (November 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595144676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595144676
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (555 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
I read this book, and the whole time I read it (it took me almost a week) I kept waiting for it to get really good--so good I would have to stay up all night to finish it. And I waited. And waited. And Waited. And then I turned the page, expecting it to FINALLY be really good because I was almost at the end of the book... and I was on the acknowledgments page. And it never got that good. I guess I was expecting a sci-fi mystery/romance/adventure, but this book is none of those things. It is a whole lot of talking and thinking and pondering and growing crops and looking at fake stars and mating. So I was quite disappointed, especially after all the hype.

And then there was the mating season. Is this book written for kids? Because detailing page after page of graphic, animalistic sex, where people are so focused on the act that they can't separate from each other to help a main character who is on the verge of being graphically gang raped right beside them--I was horrified that the author would put such detail into a young adult book. A brief mention of the Mating Season is all she needed to get her point across, yet she hits the reader over the head with it over and over. The irony is she won't write the "F" word. It was done in bad taste.

Very disappointing.

Overall, I have to say: this book is not appropriate for teens. At all.
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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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Format: Hardcover
I can't say enough about the storyline. It was unpredictable, twisted, and very well thought out. It is a wonderful blend of sci-fi, murder mystery, and a hint of romance.
The book was also written nicely. Especially that opening scene!

So, why the three stars? For the characters. They NEED more development! Particularly Elder. I couldn't connect with him, at all. I understand he lives in another world, but he should seem a bit more "person", and a little less "object". He just seemed too flat to me. What does he really think about Amy? We never find out his emotional reactions to this new girl. Isn't he curious at all? Doesn't he think she's odd? None of this is addressed.
To me, Elder is an emotionless robot that does plenty of things and wants to get to the bottom of the mystery, but doesn't have any real feelings. Amy is a bit easier to connect to, seeing that she lived on Earth and we see flashbacks of her life that make her seem more relatable, but there's the same problem with her.

Second, I disliked what Elder revealed to us at the very end. We saw Elder's point of view during that time (sorry for being vague, but I don't want to give anything away), and he never said anything to suggest /that/. He pretty much lied to us, the readers. If you can't trust the main character, the main point of view, than who CAN you trust?

But, despite the flaws, the book is the first in a trilogy, and a promising start. I hope they get to the planet before the end of the series, and that the characters develop more.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, because while it's not the best book I've read, it was still enjoyable. If you like sci-fi, and you're looking for a compelling plot, give it a go.
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