Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I'm reluctant to mention this one, and I don't want to put the original cover up, but I have to. Here it is:
Awful, isn't it? Look at those faces, getting ready to kiss each other in an otherwise cool shot of the stars. Sigh. And here is the back of the dust jacket:

Here's what I suggest. When you get the book, make sure to flip the cover and put this on the front. Way cooler, and much more accurately reflects the content of the story. None of that kissy-face nonsense.

This book is real science fiction. The plot, the setting, even the climax and resolution, all true sci-fi. I guess the marketers wanted to appeal to the huge girl market, and in doing so, are infringing on the one remaining boys' genre.

Amy is a teenager whose parents have signed the family up to be cryogenically frozen and shipped across space to a new planet that the will repopulate. The trip is a 300-year journey, and they will in theory be completely unaware of the passage of time. For Amy, that's not the case. She has nightmares. She knows something is going on, if only subconsciously. And then she wakes up.

50 years too soon.

If that was it, a girl with nightmares, I wouldn't be interested, but the story is also about Elder. A teenager himself, he is the youngest person on the ship. It's the only home he's known, and it's been that way for generations. He is destined to be the leader of the ship when the current one, Eldest, dies. However, he feels that he hasn't been properly prepared for this role by the Eldest. He seeks to learn more, and quickly discovers that all is not is as it seems on the ship, and discovers what no one else knows; there are people frozen on a secret deck of the ship.

Amy is one of them. And she looks nothing like anyone he's ever seen. And now she is awake, and other frozen people are being killed.

I've read enough Science Fiction to know that love, sex and relationships are actually a very common subject in the genre, but it's usually addressed in a pretty detached way. (Ever read Heinlein? You'll know exactly what I mean). Based on the cover, I was expecting a lot of emoting and whining here, but there wasn't much. If there was, I wouldn't recommend it to boys. Certainly the fact that it starts with the girl character and is in first person present tense (my most hated tense) is a stumbling block, but the story is good. And this book moves quickly, keeping the action going. Not a lot of reflection.

One note to mention, though, and it's important. If the boy you want to give this to likes sci fi, don't. It's the real deal, sure, but they have read the same story and better versions of it. I do like it, and do recommend it to everyone else, though. Just make sure to show the good cover.

Here it is again, just to remind you. Forget that other one.

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  1. Steven said...:

    If it's even possible, the cover of the paperback is even worse!

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