Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Okay. I’ve been reading a lot of book reviews lately (since you know, I like other people reading mine so I feel like I should share the love) and it seems to me that people just love to write good reviews. I see so many glowing reviews of books I didn’t like at all and I wonder if maybe I read a different book? I don’t know. I just don’t want to become that type of reviewer where everything is “OMG INCREDIBLE” or done in my best “Comic Book Guy” voice... “Best…Book…EVER.” I want to be honest and tell you what I really think. I hope that you, the reader, will appreciate that.

That being said, let’s get on with the review of today’s book. “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis is a dystopian science fiction novel about two teens who have had their world turned completely turned topsy-turvy. Amy was cryogenically frozen and was mysteriously unplugged decades early. Elder finds out that the world he thought he knew was just an illusion. Together, they discover the truth about the world around them and each other.

The author calls it “a sci fi for teens who don't like sci fi” on her Twitter account profile. What do I call it? Pretty darn awesome, that’s what. However, I have a confession to make. I am a science fiction nerd. I know I know. Not a big surprise considering I am pretty geeky in general, but yeah. I love science fiction. I went as Deanna Troi for Halloween in 5th grade. I’ve always wanted to live on a space ship someday like the Enterprise. So when I read the description for Ms. Revis’ book, I knew I just had to read it. I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC copy at ALA. Thank you Penguin!

Well, now it’s time to talk about the good and the bad. Go go action bullet points!
  • “Across the Universe” is an example that top-notch writing can come from a debut author! The prose flows smoothly back and forth between the two characters perspectives. Amy and Elder both have their own identifiable voice, but the transition is never too jarring for the reader. For science fiction, she keeps it light enough that even a non-science fiction reader can enjoy it. It never gets overly technical or bogged down with explanations.
  • Showing instead of telling - this was something I was harping on last review. Ms. Revis does an amazing job at this. She has some great resources on her website for aspiring writers, including a WHOLE section on this subject matter. It really makes the book come alive and allows the reader to fully connect to the characters since you are experiencing things along with them.
  • The Characters:
    • Amy is definitely a teenage girl who has teenage wants and dreams, but she also is able to face this incredibly awful situation she’s been put in without losing herself. She is strong, but yet still vulnerable. She’s just so real and that’s not easy to do when you put someone into cryogenic sleep then wake her up on a spaceship full of problems.
    • Elder is such an intriguing character. He is naïve, yet strong. Born to be a leader of the people of Godspeed, he knows that when push comes to shove, he’s got to step up to the plate. He’s the character that grows the most throughout this novel. He starts as this innocent boy and becomes a true leader by the end.
    • The Secondary Characters – Harley, Doc, you name it. They were all great and I felt like we got to know each of them a little bit without losing focus on our two leads.
  • The Ending – I didn’t even know this was the first in a trilogy until I went to Ms. Revis’ website! She left me wanting more, but still left me with a satisfied feeling at the end. THANK YOU.
Honestly, I don’t really have too much to say that is negative. I think Ms. Revis did a great job writing a great young adult novel that will appeal to the teenagers and adult readers alike. The sci-fi is simple enough for those that don’t usually care for it and engaging enough for those that love it. It’s not the most creative or ingenious book I’ve ever read, but it is solid, well written, and has characters you really care about. I would gladly read this book again, even after unlocking all the secrets with Elder and Amy.

I will definitely be adding Ms. Revis to my favorite author list and watching for her next novels to be released!

Thanks to Penguin Group/Razorbill Books at the ALA Midwinter Meeting for the ARC of “Across the Universe”. It’s already available at bookstores and online. Get your copy today!


  1. Glad to hear YA fiction is not all mediocre and/or "Twilight."

  2. thumbs up for the star trek reference alone. :)

  3. Jordyn - LOL, why thank you. ;)


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