Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Published by Razorbill/Penguin. Read in January, 2011. ARC provided by publisher.
A Fast Five review:
1. Across the Universe is set in a space ship that has been built to house a community headed towards a new world. The book jacket includes a map of the ship. This is a nice luxury but not a necessity. Ms. Revis clearly describes this world and my mental image was only confirmed by the map. The Across the Universe site has an interactive version of the map.
2. There is a lot going on in this novel: dystopian sci-fi, mystery, attraction, loss, but it all fits together fairly well to make it a page-turner. For me, it was not a book to be gobbled in one sitting, but I did want to learn what was next. I knew the answer to one mystery early in the book, but there were other mysteries that kept me engaged.
3. I find the cover a bit misleading; it looks like it will center around an all-consuming angsty romance, but romance is not really part of the story. There is attraction, and the building of a potential relationship, but the two main characters, Amy and Elder, go through things that are bigger than a crush. (An interesting post on a potential race-change is another potential problem with the cover, but not a big enough one to get me riled up.)
4. The viewpoint alternates between Amy and Elder. I felt like the reader got to know Amy pretty well, but Elder less so. I do think that part of this is due to the fact that Elder is still trying to figure out who he is and where he fits in this world, but his personality is just a lot less defined than Amy’s. I found myself caring less about what happened to him than I did Amy.
5. I only learned recently that this is going to be a trilogy. I felt like the book resolved well-enough for me, so I’m not sure how quickly I will read the sequel. I had actually been happy to read something that was a stand-alone. Oh well.
I did buy this for my high school library, and it has circulated well. There is a section of the book that deals with sex and an attempted rape, so it might not be suitable for younger/less mature readers.