Thursday, February 24, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

"What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies?" That question on the front cover drew me in;  the image of two silhouetted faces approaching for a kiss - not so much. I prefer the alternate cover depicting a blueprint of the spaceship Godspeed; it is on the backside of the dust jacket. Unfortunately, since I was reading a library copy with the dust jacket permanently affixed, I could only peek longingly at the other version.

The setting is a colony ship from Earth that has been travelling in deep space for hundreds of years. The social organization that has evolved in this claustrophobic environment is fascinating.

Only a handful of people know that the cargo hold contains a hundred cryogenically frozen settlers, chosen for their skills that will be needed upon landfall. Someone with murderous intent has begun thawing them. That is how teenaged Amy has found herself awake in a strange world where everybody acts like she is a freak because of her pale skin and red hair. The only person her age is Elder, a boy destined to be the leader of the next generation of children born on the ship. Elder is one of the few people aboard who treats Amy well. He even finds her attractive. But romance has to take a back seat to solving the mystery of sabotage. The safety of the entire ship is at stake.

The suspense builds at the same time as big philosophical questions are pondered. This is top-notch science fiction, the first in a projected trilogy. Grade 8 - adult.

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