Across the Universe - Beth Revis 4.5 stars. The spaceship Goodspeed is on its 300 years long journey to an inhabitable planet, Centauri-Earth. On board are about hundred specialists and their families (bio-engineers, tacticians, sociologists) stored as frozen human cargo in the deep and forgotten bowels of the huge vessel as well as two and a half thousand common inhabitants, who either research plants, weather and livestock for the future socialization or farm and produce goods for the small community. Since an obscure past event referred to as "The Plague" severed all connections to Sol-Earth and decimated the breathing population, the on-board democracy has been replaced by a the firm rule of a string of single and almighty rulers, who control access to the Earth's (tampered with) and the ship's (partly hazy) history, the use of cameras, the knowledge about what sleeps in the storage chambers, and who exchanged random reproduction for a system of one mating season per generation. The present ruler, Eldest, appears to be reluctant to share his vast knowledge with his still teen-aged successor, Elder, but emphasizes that the greatest dangers to a surviving society are differences between the members and lack of leadership. Slighted and unsatisfied Elder snoops around and discovers the already melting Amy, who is not only non-essential to the ship's mission (aka disposable if in the way), but also red-headed, pale and a powerful threat to Eldest's omnipotence. Elder's world view is shaken up: What else has been hidden from him and who is attempting to murder those who represent the pathway to a successful settlement?

When I compare "Across the Universe" to Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder, which also takes place in a small, confined and heavily controlled world/eco-system, I have to say I prefer "Inside Out". But, nonetheless, I loved "Across the Universe", too, and look forward to reading the sequel next year, because ...

- It kept me glued to the pages to that extent that I was ripping my eyes open again and again last night while my husband already snored through his third dream or so
- I am a sucker for multi-point-of-view-stories, especially those switching between a boy and a girl
- I really love on-board-of-spaceship-novels that do not primarily deal with war (I also recommend Startide Rising and I greedily wait for Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue to be delivered to my postbox)
- I enjoyed that Beth Revis did not deliver a soppy romance in a thin and superficial space-travel wrapping, but a thrilling space mystery with fantastic world building and a pleasant sprinkling of boy-girl-attraction.
- The characters - even the side-crew - were well-defined, hard-angled and interesting
- Think-worthy questions about leadership, free will and the perfect socialization are touched on the way without offering simple answers.

I recommend this piece of dystopian young adult fiction and say "Beth, bring on the sequel! You've earned all that praise."