Tag Archives: Across the Universe

Author Interviews
January 27, 2011 posted by Christina

Interview with Beth Revis

Beth Revis is the author of the fantastic new novel, Across the Universe, which is our January Book of the Month! She was nice enough to take time out for a quick Q&A.

Amy and Elder’s life on the Godspeed is incredibly fascinating – where did the idea for the story come from?

The entire story revolves around the ending. I had an idea for that twisty end, and everything else—the setting, the characters, the plot—all of it came about as a way to make that ending happen.

During the early planning stages of the story who came first – Amy or Elder?

Elder. Originally, the first chapter was told in his point of view, and his voice was the easiest for me to write at first. I had to go through rather a lot of revision and rewriting with Amy—it took me awhile to figure her out, but once I had her voice down, she actually became the easier character to write.

There’s a lot of technical info about the way the ship works as well as biology, genes, space travel seen in the book, you must’ve done a lot of research before writing the book?

I had to research mostly in terms of what we don’t have and why we don’t have it. For example, I had to research why cryogenic freezing doesn’t work now (the cell walls burst when frozen) and then invent something that would make it work (the infamous “blue goo” Amy encounters in Chapter 1). In some ways, this made things easier for me—since it’s fiction, I got to do a lot of creative inventing to make the science work, and could use my imagination rather than facts.

During the Plague the ship was cut off from communications with Earth – was that someone’s doing or a computer malfunction?

Oh dear….I’m afraid I’m not going to tell you. That is something that will be addressed in the future books, though!

Most of the reviews on other blogs and on Goodreads are 4 or 5 star ratings, are you surprised by the warm reception?

Happily so! It’s so terrifying to send creative work out into the world. Even though I’m fully aware that writing and reading is an entirely subjective thing, there’s so much of me in my work that to see someone not like it feels like a personal insult when I know logically it isn’t. The wonderful reception AtU has received so far has made me thrilled beyond belief and just confirmed my idea that I have the very best readers in the whole world.

I’m sure it’s still top secret at this stage but is there anything you can share about what we can expect from the next book?

I can only say that at least 2 things you think are true from the first book….are actually lies.

And lastly, let’s finish on a fun one….crunchy or smooth peanut butter? (Would they have that on Godspeed?)

Crunchy for me! Peanuts are a crop that would be easy (and necessary) for the residents to grow, so I imagine there’s lots of peanut butter around Godspeed—and since peanut butter is so easy to make, I’d say that they can have it either way they want, crunchy or smooth!

Thank you Beth! Check out our review of Across the Universe here and Beth’s guest blog here.

There’s still time to enter our Across the Universe giveaway too, click here to enter.

Book of the Month
January 20, 2011 posted by Christina

Guest Post by Beth Revis

Beth Revis is the author of Across the Universe, an epic sci fi and our Book of the Month for January!

As the author of one of 2011’s most exciting releases, we’ve been lucky enough to take a bit of her time as she addresses an often taboo subject – sex and love in young adult literature. Beth can be found on her website here or on her Twitter – @bethrevis. Also, check out the official website for Across the Universe which features the book’s trailer and a link to the first chapter.

Sex and Love in YA Literature

I never meant to write about sex. I meant to write about murders and mysteries and space and tough decisions and life choices and government and control…but not about sex. However, as I was writing Across the Universe, it came to a point when sex became an inevitable topic, and in order to be honest to my readers and true to the story, I had to write the most difficult scene in the entire book–a scene that made me cry as I wrote it–when my character Amy, a girl from Earth, sees how sex is treated on the spaceship in the future.

I knew that the scene would be touchy, perhaps even controversial, and while I don’t want to ruin the surprise of it for readers who’ve not read yet, I will say that I felt like I had something important to say about sex by the time I wrote about that scene. Sex is a powerful thing, and an important thing, and a wonderful thing, and I don’t think it should be done lightly or casually. When sex becomes nothing more than a physical activity, it loses the emotion–love–that should be behind it, and that is deeply disturbing to me. And that is why I had to write about it.

And, of course, that led me to writing about love. In a society where sex is treated like mating, I wanted Amy to be able to talk frankly about love, too, and how there is a distinction between lust and love. I believe that no matter how far away our society goes from where it is now, love will always be present. But it will also often be difficult. One thing I very much wanted to do was show that love is often not the instant love-at-first-sight that is often portrayed in books and movies. Although Elder falls in love with Amy rather quickly, Amy questions his motives and whether or not his feeling is more of fascination (or obsession) rather than love. I think her refusal of Elder, especially at first, leads him to question how he really feels about her, and that is something I hope my readers do as well. It’s important to ask yourself if you love someone, or just lust after them. That’s a very different thing, even though the feelings may seem the same initially.

In the end, Across the Universe isn’t about love or sex–or, at least, it’s not *just* about love or sex. Love and sex are present because they are a part of the story and a part of the character’s lives. My biggest goal was simply to present them as honestly as I could, and I hope my readers agree!


A big thank you to Beth! For our review of Across the Universe click here, or click here to enter our giveaway.

Across the Universe is available in stores and online now.

Book of the Month
January 6, 2011 posted by Christina

Across the Universe – Beth Revis

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.”

Not to be confused with the song by the Beatles, Across the Universe is the debut novel by author Beth Revis. Combing elements of sci-fi, dystopia, romance and murder mystery and sticking them within the confines of the spaceship, Godspeed – 2011’s most anticipated releases start off with a bang.

The story is told alternating between the perspectives of sixteen year old Elder – who is next in line as the leader of the ship, and Amy – who till now was part of the cargo having been cryogenically frozen 250 years ago, to be woken up when the ship landed. Only thing is, she’s been woken up 50 years too soon by someone attempting to kill her….and she was only first on their list.

Amy is unlike anyone Elder has ever seen before – literally. Since the ship has been working with the same gene pool for 250 years everyone has become mono ethnic. So when Amy is violently woken up in all her red haired, fair skinned glory, Elder’s world is turned on its head.

But don’t think that the love story is a done deal. Amy is freaked out by her situation. Not only will she have to live out the rest of her days as an outcast on ship that makes a poor imitation of the Earth she knew, but she’ll also probably outlive her parents who are still frozen below.

Elder has his own set of problems, as the next in charge his mentor and current leader, Eldest has taught him very little about the ship and it’s many secrets. As he tries to uncover the truth about the ship and who is killing the frozens, he discovers just who he can trust and a lot more than he bargained for.

Usually a dystopia or sci-fi (in this case, a mix) can be a bit disorientating to read since there’s so much concept and world building that you need to grasp but Revis lets the world form completely seamlessly. The dual perspectives worked perfectly with a brilliantly plotted storyline that had so many twists and turns, weaving in the issues of free will, corruption and control, all of which made it feel haunting and disturbing in all the right places.

Our main characters are both strong and fierce, I loved that their emotions were completely real, especially Amy who does not automatically adjust to her new surroundings. She struggles with her fear, anger and confusion as well as with the four walls now containing her, which is exactly how anyone would feel. Though I found it a little creepy that she always referred to her father as Daddy, I still really liked her.

For Elder, up until now he’s felt more like a child than a future leader and really grows throughout the book, becoming what he was born to be. I loved that they weren’t in an all consuming love at first sight (well, maybe Elder was…;) ) relationship which would’ve made it feel fake. They have a lot of potential together and I really want to see what happens next.

It’s an epic dystopian sci fi that’ll make you very thankful your feet are planted firmly on Earth. It’s evocative and haunting but basically, it’s a frexing awesome book.

Pages: 398
Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating: : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “And the whoosh! The flash freeze filled the tiny chamber. I was in ice. I was ice. I am ice.

But if I’m ice, how am I conscious?… I can’t be awake for three hundred and one years. I’ll never survive that.”

Blog Things
September 17, 2010 posted by Christina

Cover of the Week

You should never judge a book by it’s cover.

Sure….but they never said we couldn’t admire them. Cover of the Week pays homage to the beautiful and eye catching graphics that grace the covers of our young adult titles.

This week’s cover of the week goes to Across The Universe by Beth Revis
Release Date: January 2011