Across the Universe by Beth Revis is an excellent blend of dystopia, romance, and sci-fi. Teenager Amy is cryogenically frozen in order to join her also frozen parents on a 350 year journey to colonize a new planet. While Amy’s parents are considered crucial to the mission, Amy is simply “cargo”. So when she is mysteriously unfrozen 50 years ahead of schedule and facing life alone on the spaceship, she doesn’t know if she can keep her sanity.
The ship, Godspeed, contains a couple of thousand people and an “Elder” and “Eldest” as the leaders. The society is monoethnic and strangely complacent. Therefore Amy, with her red hair and strong feelings, is completely out of place. Her only friends are Elder (who is the only teenage boy on the ship) and one of the mental patients in the hospital. When Amy begins influencing Elder to think for himself, Eldest clearly begins to want her dead. So when someone begins to murder the other “frozens”, Amy fears for her own life and the lives of her still-frozen parents.
Across the Universe is ambiguous, filled with detail, and a total page-turner. The sci-fi element was a welcome relief from the more common earth-bound dystopias, and is highly entertaining. Also, the romance between Amy and Elder is more Hunger Games-ish than Twilight-ish (and therefore actually believable).