Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Across the Universe is set on a spaceship headed to colonize a distant planet. It begins with Amy, a narrator, watching her parents getting cryogenically frozen, and then getting frozen herself. There are chilling descriptions of the time she spends in the deep freeze while fully conscious. The other narrator, Elder, the ship’s leader-in-training, sees Amy in her frozen chamber and kind of falls in love with her. There’s an almost fairy-tale quality to this part of the story. But Amy’s awakening is violent, not romantic, and leads to the discovery of many secrets behind the ship’s leadership.
The society on the ship is organized in a strange way that is gradually revealed, with some really well-plotted exposition. There’s a mystery to solve, and twists at the end that were genuinely satisfying. The unique circumstances and choices of the characters raise questions that are really big and thought-provoking, which is always something I like in a YA novel. There was a near-rape scene that seemed kind of gratuitous. But besides that, the narrative was fairly balanced between the male and female perspectives, with both narrators changing and learning and figuring things out.
I really enjoyed this story, and consider it among the best YA novels I’ve read in a while. I’m glad it’s the beginning of a series and that there seem to be a lot of unresolved questions for the two heroes to deal with. I’m looking forward to reading the next one.