Beth Revis’ Across The Universe is nothing like the musical movie, if that’s what you’re thinking; it’s about a girl on a spaceship.
Most books marketed as science fiction for teens are more like fantasy, just set in space. I was pleasantly surprised that Across the Universe is an exception to this. It’s actually science fiction, heavy on the science, and Revis did an amazing job with making it interesting. This was apparent from the very beginning, I expected being frozen for space travel to be like on Futurma, where they are frozen instantly and painlessly. I though Revis’ interpretation of the freezing process was both horrifying and logical.
Much of the book was terrifying to me, I hadn’t gone into it expecting to be afraid or disturbed but I was. The book has been hyped as a science fiction/ romance, but for me it was a science fiction/ horror. The terrible freezing process was only the first of many things that made me cringe, because Revis writes in such a way that it’s impossible not to put yourself in Amy’s shoes and poor Amy goes through a lot.
There were two major plot twists I predicted, but this didn’t make them any less satisfying. I was still on my toes (not literally of course) with anticipation of seeing if I was right, seeing how everything would unfold.
There is a lot of unconventional sexuality, so I would recommend this for older teens and warn librarians there will be parents who take offense, even though these scenes of sexuality are meant to be offputting to the teens.
This book counts toward the 2011 debut author challenge.
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I was impressed with how Revis delved into the huge impact artificial hormones can have on a person. She takes it to the extremes, but it’s actually not as far-fetched as it may seem. A tiny hormonal imbalance can make you incredibly ill physically or affect your ability focus.
The effect of the drugs in this book reminded me of two other fantastic pieces of fiction. When taken in small doses the characters become “pretty-minded” like in Westerfeld’s Uglies series. Given larger amounts, the result is just like what happened with pax in the film Serenity (I wrote an essay about Serenity .)
Harley was my favourite character and I think maybe the book should have been called little fish, or had the painting of the fish in the stars as cover art just to honour his awesomeness. Not that the current cover isn’t pretty darn awesome.