I was a bit apprehensive going into Across the Universe since YA lately has been largely hit or miss. I figured a sci-fi YA would likely be an even more treacherous zone to enter, although I had no valid reason aside from worldbuilding to fear this. Luckily I was not disappointed by this sci-fi adventure and I look forward to more.
The story is told from the point of views of the two main characters, Amy and Elder. I enjoyed the contrasting views since Amy has the perspective of someone raised on Earth around this time whereas Elder has no such perspective. In fact Elder is in the dark in terms of his own "world". Amy is one of hundreds of individuals who chose to be cryogenically frozen in order to be a part of a space mission to Centauri Earth, 300 years away. Amy joins because both of her parents are needed for the mission, otherwise she would have stayed behind. But Amy is awoken some fifty years earlier than she should have, meaning she will be older than her parents by the time they actually reach the planet. Much ensues after she unfreezes, including someone trying to kill other cryos.
I found the plot very entertaining and I feel it would make a very fun sci-fi movie in fact. I loved the cryogenic aspect and the characters. Amy was a strong character who you really feel for as the emotions come off as genuine. I also liked Elder but hated his name, why could he not have a nickname?! Elder really grows as a character/individual during the book and I enjoyed witnessing his change.
I was concerned about the worldbuilding going in and it was not assuaged early on as I kept having questions regarding the way the ship functioned and the people on board. However, Revis slowly answers the question throughout the book, allowing you to essentially learn the world along with Amy and Elder (in part). It could have been stronger but I would rather it be at the level it was than having it come across as forced.
A few things did bug me about the story, including the made up words. Why do they all say "frex" instead of f*ck? It made no sense to me, at least Amy still cursed but Elder said frex often and I found it very distracting. Granted a society under those conditions would make up different words than those used here on Earth but considering how nearly all the words used were Earth-words, I found it entirely unnecessary. I also question why it was so easy to unfreeze Amy. Sure you had to have a certain security level to enter but other than that it was pretty easy. I would like to think such a complex system and mission would be more secure. Also, judging by the cover it seems like it would be a romance but it really is not, more of a budding friendship that will be more. Beautiful cover but misleading, not that I am complaining-I enjoyed the focus on non-romantic elements.
Overall Across the Universe was a fun space romp and I look forward to the sequel.