Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
I picked this book up at random, on a quest for Young Adult science fiction as I worldbuilt (worldbuild, as I’m still hacking away and it’s not so much clearing my path as uncovering more stuff) for a new science fiction novel. I needed to understand the market, the YA sci-fi voice, yadda yadda. And the cover has stars on. Win.
At first, I was kind of disappointed. It was a slow start, which I hadn’t expected. I settled down a little, made sure I didn’t skim, and sure enough, the plot exploded with Things. Twists. Some of which I saw coming (but that could be the Writer-Me talking, I can never differentiate it from Reader-Me), but others… others slapped me in the face. Reading this book is like tipping over the edge of a rollarcoaster. Slow momentum then it picks up speed and BAM. You crash into a pile of twisted metal at the bottom and you’re left going WHAT THE HELL I THINK I DIED.
Across the Universe is much more dystopian than it’s pretty, star-spangled cover suggests. There are conspiracies. And drugs. And questions. Many, many questions. Both Amy and Elder get alternating viewpoints and both of them work. Swapping between them keeps the tension high and you don’t know who you can trust. And the twists just keep coming.
I am really glad I read it, and that is what books are for.