ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is one of those books everyone was talking about last year, and I finally picked it up in January. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I didn’t have the urge to immediately go read the next one. Part of that was due to the fact that I was focusing on reading MG as I got ready to query. However, now that I’m writing YA, A MILLION SUNS moved to the top of my reading list.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this way before, but I loved this book more than the first one in the series. That’s pretty unusual, but for some reason I felt more connected to the characters. I’m going to post the blurb, so SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t read ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision–no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success–or failure–will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.
As usual, here are the five things I loved most about the book:
1. The romance – I love a good romance, and I have a particular soft spot for romances in which one of the characters is in denial. Elder has no doubts about his feelings for Amy, but she’s hung up on this idea of having a choice. She doesn’t trust her feelings for him because he’s her only option. I love the way Beth Revis shows Amy becoming aware of her feelings.
“For the first time in three months, I didn’t start my day by talking to my parents on the cryo level.
When I woke up sad and lonely and empty inside … I came straight here.
Straight to Elder.”
Their relationship still isn’t resolved at the end of the book, leaving something for the finale, but it’s so real. I believe each of their motivations and am rooting for them to overcome the obstacles.
2. The mystery – It’s no secret I love a good mystery, and this one lives up to every expectation. It’s like a scavenger hunt, only some of the clues have been tampered with. I enjoyed the way the clues tied in to classic literature, making them indecipherable to almost anyone but Amy. And the final reveal was the perfect payoff. There were at least two major twists in the book. I figured out the first one, but I think that’s because I accidentally saw the description for the third book. I don’t know if I would have guessed it otherwise. It’s a really good one :).
3. The pacing – I couldn’t put this book down. It lives up to the advice to keep tension on every page. I think the fact that it alternates points of view added to the tension. An Amy chapter would end with a question I had to have answered, and it would switch to an Elder chapter with another cliffhanger, so there was never a place I wanted to stop. Very well done.
4. Authentic teens – Even though these characters are in space, they felt like real teens to me. I often got frustrated with Elder, wondering why he couldn’t figure out how to lead. Then I’d remember he’s only sixteen. Of course he can’t instinctively handle all of this. He’s distracted by other things, like Amy, and that’s understandable. As for Amy, we see that tug between wanting her parents to solve her problems and figuring out what she can do on her own. There’s even a moment where she throws a temper tantrum like a little kid. Both characters are an excellent representation of that in-between adolescent experience.
5. The ending – Wow, this ending left me totally hanging. I wanted more now, which is why I’m glad I waited to read this one until now. I only have one month to wait for the last installment. Beth Revis did an excellent job laying out this trilogy. The first two books easily stand alone in their storylines, and the third one will, too. I’m excited to see how Elder and Amy handle the final challenge.
Who else is anxiously awaiting SHADES OF EARTH? What did you think of A MILLION SUNS?