Across the Universe by Beth Revis
When Amy and her parents signed up to be cryogenically frozen to travel aboard the spaceship Godspeed for 300 years to help settle a new earth-like planet, they had no idea what was in story for them. The opening scene of the book sets the stage for what will follow, with the family being frozen one-by-one, which readers learn is a painful and frightening experience. Amy’s father gives her the option of changing her mind at the last minute, and staying with extended family on Earth, but the seventeen year old can’t imagine never seeing her parents again. Readers then eavesdrop as Amy has nightmarish dreams during for forced sleep, but then she is violently awoken 50 years too early when someone unplugs her pod. Has someone tried to murder her??? She meets Elder, the ship’s leader-in training, upon awakening and his kindness makes her feel safe, but the current leader (Eldest) is another matter altogether. He acts like he would as soon jettison Amy out in space as make a home for her on the ship.
Even though Elder is supposed to be training his protege’ Eldest to care for the passengers and ship, Elder knows the old man is withholding critical information, keeping the ship’s running and very structured society a mystery to the teenager. When the teenagers realize someone is trying to unplug and kill all the frozen colonists, they begin a quest to try to figure out the truth about the murders and the ship’s other closely held secrets.
The book is told in alternating chapters between Amy and Elder’s perspectives. This makes it all the more gripping as we see life through two completely different views. I read this amazing story in one weekend because I could just not put it down. It has elements which will attract readers with lots of different tastes because it includes a dystopian setting aboard the ship Godspeed, a murder mystery involving the frozen colonists from Earth, a Science Fiction plot and even a little bit of romance.
I highly recommend this book to all teen readers and am eagerly awaiting the next installment of the story.