Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 11th, 2011

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

So-- this is my first giveaway and I decided to make it a DOOZY!  I loved this book so very much, and had the opportunity to get a copy signed at the Decatur Book Festival a couple of weeks ago, so I decided that I should give it away with my review.  Nice of me, huh?  But first, the review...

As I mentioned, I LOVED this book.  I actually "read" it twice; once by turning pages, the old fashioned way, and once by listening to the audio.  It was great the first time and even better the second.  It is one of my favorite books of 2011, and I cannot WAIT to read A Million Suns when it comes out (January 10th, 2012).  Want to know why?  Here's a list (in no particular order):
  • The World Building~ Can you say descriptive? Beth Revis does an absolutely amazing job of giving you the impression that you've actually been on the ship, Godspeed.  The details are phenomenal; when I was reading it I could truly imagine the magnitude of the vessel and the virtual planet within.  When I found out at DBF that she had not actually diagrammed Godspeed during the writing of the book, I was blown away!  These details were all in her imagination!  Amazing!  When I went on the (super-cool) website, I was even more impressed because the artist renderings of the ship were so close to what I pictured.
  • The Cover~ I know that the cover doesn't really speak anything to the quality of a book, but I am a total cover-whore, so I have to mention it... Okay, purple and black are my favorite colors, so I might be biased, but I love the cover of this book. It's actually what drew me to pick up the book in the first place.  I had never heard of Beth Revis, and the Sci-Fi genre is usually hit or miss for me, so thank you Penguin/Razorbill for picking a kick-ass cover!
  • The Characters/Story~ I already gushed about Revis's world building, so let me carry on about the characters and the story.  I will first say that I don't always love books that have alternating character POV; it has to be done just right, otherwise my simple mind gets confused.  Beth Revis totally pulls it off, and then some.  Because Amy and Elder are SO very different, not only do the alternating POVs work, but they are essential to the story.  I felt like the book was more about Amy than Elder, but without Elder we wouldn't know anything about Godspeed or the years since Amy was frozen; he introduces characters and nearly all the major plot points. We don't meet many characters in the book, but the ones we do meet are so well done.  We get an idea of who they are, but we get to know them slowly, like we would if we were getting to know someone in real life.  I didn't like everyone, but I felt like, by the end of the book, I knew what made each character tick and I understood their motivations.  Amy and Elder, were so complex and I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to write them so well,  Even harder, I imagine, was Eldest, the "leader" of their civilization.  As much as I wanted to dislike him, I just couldn't.  His reasoning and motivation for much of what he did was sound.  I won't give spoilers, because I want everyone to read this, but there were so many plot twists that I never saw coming.  I think anyone claiming to have seen them coming is a total liar!  The story moves so fluidly, never hanging up or making the reader need to go back and say, "Where the hell did THAT come from?".  This doesn't bode well for those who want to walkaway to do things like shower and eat, but I happen to like thrive on unputdownable books, so this fact made me happy!  Finally, I have to commend Beth Revis for not making the story revolve around romance.  Yes, there is a romantic element, but it's very real and not the focus of the story (because really, who in their right mind lets their love life define their existence), which in my mind, is a good thing.
All in all, this book is a must-read for YA lovers.  It is Science Fiction because of it being set in space and the future and all that, but it is much more than that.  It is a dystopia and it is a commentary on human nature.  I think even those who aren't typically a Sci-Fi lovers will enjoy this book.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★+ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  This one is a tough call.  There is a lot sex, but it's not "We're kids in love, let's have sex." sex, it's mating on an almost primal level.  To me it's not any different than witnessing one dog humping another, but parents and teachers might disagree with me.  There is also an attempted rape (mainly because of the way this society sees sex as mating) and several murders.  Even with that element, I personally don't see it as inappropriate content for middle-schoolers because of the context.  I would say this is fine for ages 12+ (7th grade+), but I would say it cautiously and say that this might be a read-before-your kid-reads-it-if you're-concerned.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!

Win a signed hardcover copy of this FABULOUS book!

It's really simple.  You must be 13 years old or older.  You must be a follower.  You must be in the US or Canada.  You must fill out the form.

This giveaway will run through Tuesday, September 20th (11:59 pm EST).  I will notify the winner via email on Wednesday.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address.  If I don't hear back I will choose another.


  1. AMAZING review!! I totally agree on all the points you made, this book is fantastic!! :)

  2. AMAZING review!! I totally agree on all the points you made, this book is fantastic!! :)

  3. Hello! New follower! Thanks for the great review and giveaway!

  4. I have been meaning to pick this book up for a long time now. A LONG TIME. You've given me a great opportunity to try to win a copy, so thanks. I can't exactly comment on the review, but it seems consistent with what I've read. The story to me seems very intriguing.

    Also: Love the way you write reviews.

  5. Hi! :) I don't live in the US, BUT I can provide a US postal address. Am I allowed to enter, or would you prefer it to be residents only?

    Thanks either way! :)


  6. I definitely really liked this one. I think it had a different enough tone and message to be unique.

    Thanks for pointing out that blog post -- it's always interesting to hear the writer's thoughts like that.
    Register Domain

  7. @Amy A US mailing address is fine. Thanks for checking.

  8. I COMPLETELY agree with your review! A Million Suns could not come out soon enough... Thanks for the excellent giveaway opportunity, as well!

  9. Don't worry, I'm a cover-whore as well. Haha. Seriously, this book has one of the beautiful covers I've seen. I want to own it 60 percent just for that. Hehe. Thanks for this awesome giveaway, Karis!

  10. Cool books! I hope I win since I read it and loved it! Great JOb! :D

    Check out my blog somethime! http://thebookshelves.blogspot/.com

  11. Is it wrong to judge a book by its cover? Gorgeous gorgeous cover! Thanks for the great review. The story sounds very interest and different.

  12. I just want to be your friend. Totally not stalking here. Don't look out your window. I'm not there.

    I said DON'T look out your window.

  13. A signed book?! I am so in! Especially since I've heard great things about this! :)

    anaavu@gmail.com (Comments posted from different profile)

  14. I loved this book so much and totally agree w/ your review. I'm so anxious for the next one! Also, thanks for the contest!

  15. Oh I LOVED AtU- I can't express that enough! I really believe that Beth Revis is brilliant for all of the depth and themes she included in this one. And I'll tell you that A Million Suns is even BETTER, in my opinion! Even more character development and action in the story. Definitely one to look forward to, and I think it'll live up to the hype and anticipation :)

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  16. Wow, your review made me even more excited to read this book! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!


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