Across the Universe by Beth Revis

As Earth’s resources are running out, the human race must think of a way to sustain itself. They have come up with a solution: they will send a group of people to another planet.

Amy’s parents are important members of this expedition (her mother is a scientist and her father is part of the military) and so she joins them. The trip will take three hundred years and they will be kept in stasis until they reach the planet. But when she is woken up suddenly and painfully fifty years early, she finds a world that she doesn’t understand.

Elder is the next in line to lead the people of the ship. He is somewhat rebellious for the stagnant world that is life aboard the ship. Amy fascinates him and he is instantly attracted to her differentness. The two must work together to discover who woke her early and why something doesn’t quite add up on the ship.

I was surprised to find myself really invested in this story. The characters are likeable and interesting, the situation–though not entirely unfamiliar–felt fresh and exciting, and though not every plot twist is shocking, there still enough guessing to keep you thinking.

One of the strongest elements of the book, beyond how strongly defined the characters are, is how thought out everything is. Revis has thought out every detail of how life on the ship works, what everyone does, the rules behind the system. Even the villain of the story is complex and, in some ways, sympathetic.

While the book did address many complex issues (is it right to sacrifice the few for the many? what is more important, survival or happiness? how far would you go to assure mankind’s survival?), it still has a way to go before it fully resolves these issues. They are addressed but in a more theoretical way, without the reality of the situation being tested. I am not certain if the book is meant to be a standalone, but I would be happy to see Elder and Amy’s struggle continue so that we can further examine these issues.


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