I began Across the Universe, sight unseen. I had not read any of the descriptions or any of the reviews. I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi from the heyday of Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, and Beth Ravis’ debut holds its own alongside those quite nicely. It encompasses everything good about Young Adult literature, Science Fiction, and the typical coming-of-age novel, yet it is so much greater than its parts.
I enjoyed the book’s audio format, and I downloaded it from my library’s Overdrive account reading only the description, “A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.” I’ve been on a Sci-Fi spree of late, and it seemed right up my alley. The technology that Ravis imagined was both exciting and frightening. For the YA element, the characters were heartbreakingly real and beautifully written. Elder and Amy, the main characters whose points of view are alternated in each chapter, both grow up when they face the harsh realities of lost innocence in a contained spaceship, each questioning what is right and what is worth fighting for. The book also had a bit of a murder mystery, but I don’t consider it a mystery because it was glaringly obvious to me throughout the entire story.
One of my favorite things about Across the Universe is the old-school Science Fiction cliffhanger ending. It left me imaging what became of those aboard the ship, and toying with the possibilities of what the characters will face in the aftermath of the novel’s climax. I was slightly disappointed when I disappointed when I found that it was a part of a planned trilogy, but that disappointment evaporated in about five seconds. The sequel, A Million Suns, releases on January 12, 2012, and I will be happily devouring it, as well, when it releases.