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I Don’t Think The Beatles Meant It Like That

Posh evokes the title of a Matthew McConaughey rom-com to express her disappointment in Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

I Don’t Think The Beatles Meant It Like That

BOOK REPORT for Across the Universe (Across the Universe Book 1) by Beth Revis

Cover Story: Brown Bag It
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: -10
Talky Talk: Play By Play
Bonus Factor: Trekked Out
Anti-Bonus Factor: The Season
Relationship Status: Failure To Launch

Cover Story: Brown Bag It

HEEEEELL NO. And if the Spiderman kiss wasn't bad enough, there's the subtitle: What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies? Fortunately, it's in really small type. Unfortunately, you may find yourself repeating this phrase out loud in an intense, whispery voice because it's just too awful not to enjoy. Also, sometimes people will give you an answer! Other times, they'll just slowly step away from your bar stool. But seriously WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

The Deal:

Order and uniformity reign aboard the spaceship Godspeed. On a mission to populate a distant planet, people are genetically bred to look the same (to promote harmony) and fulfill specific tasks (to make the ship efficient). Elder has spent his whole life in this homogeneous society, training for leadership under the tutelage of Eldest, the ship's dictator, and dreaming of seeing the stars. Yeah, the kid is on a spaceship, and yet no one ever gets to see the stars. Right there, you know this shizz is pretty effed up.

The peace that Eldest preaches about is suddenly disturbed when Elder discovers a secret room in the ship full of cryogenicly frozen people from planet Earth. Even crazier, one of them, a beautiful girl named Amy, is awake... because someone unplugged her. In other words, there's a killer on the loose, and as more people, um, melt, Elder and Amy must work together to uncover the murderer's identity. That is, if Amy's mind doesn't give out from the stress of waking up in a totally foreign, cray cray place and realizing that she can't even turn to her parents for help, because they're still frozen.

BFF Charm: Nay

Look, I get that Amy is going through a really hard time. I mean, I'm super pale too, and based on the looks I get at water parks, I can understand why it would totally suck to be the only white, red-haired person on a ship full of tan, dark-haired people, especially when they've been told by their leader that you're a freak. Also, she's a teenager, and the idea of waking up before your parents and realizing that you won't see them until you're, like, 50 years-old is a total nightmare. But guess what, Amy. Tragedy is no excuse for STUPIDITY! Here, let's take a little pop quiz.

If you're just woken up on a spaceship, and everyone looks the same, and there's all kinds of politics and weird rules and scary science you don't understand, and someone tells you to stay in your room on your first day because it's not safe outside, do you:

1.  Stay in your room

2.  Go for a little jog!

THE ANSWER IS NOT #2 YOU GUYS.

UGH. I just cannot handle Amy's oblivious stubborn attitude and her complete lack of good sense. Sure, I'd loan her some sunscreen, but NO MAS.

My feelings towards Elder aren't as negatively vehement, mostly because he didn't seem as developed as Amy. He's nice, and he wants to do the right thing, but he's also just... meh.

Swoonworthy Scale: -10

You know what's really hot? When people are genetically programmed to treat sex like a procreational duty. JUST KIDDING. More on "The Season" under anti-bonus factors, but suffice it to say, that really drove down the swoonworthy score. The other problem is the lack of chemistry between Elder and Amy. Elder does like to think about Amy's boobs and lips, and while that's realistic, it's not romantic. I just didn't feel any kind of heat between these two, and it's not because Amy was recently unfrozen (heyo!).

Talky Talk: Play By Play

Each chapter alternates between Amy and Elder's perspectives, which allows readers to understand both the marvels and the horrors of life aboard Godspeed. Through Amy and Elder's voices, Revis details every minute of action, every feeling and sensation. I really liked it when Amy was being frozen, because I truly felt like I was being frozen, and based on the fact that I wear long underwear regularly in the winter in TEXAS, you know that this was a horrifying (but fascinating!) experience. As the book progressed, however, I found myself getting a little annoyed at every single detail, probably because of my growing dislike for Amy. Like, I reeeeally don't need to know every thought in her head. In fact, I'd rather not. KTHX.

I was also initially fascinated by the dystopian world that Revis creates, but the plot itself took some bumpy, really abrupt turns that I found way too over the top. There was literally a moment when I came across a line (it has to do with Hitler, in case you've read this book) where I said, "WHAT?" out loud and then asked my empty apartment if this book was actually serious. My apartment didn't respond, in case you're wondering.

Bonus Factor: Trekked Out

So, one of my fave things about sci fi is all of the cool technology, and while this book didn't feature a food replicator like on the Enterprise, it did have some pretty sweet toys, like tubes people jump in to travel. You know those pneumatic tubes they have at banks (or at the Callahan plant), where you pop in the canister and it gets sucked up into a pipe? Yeah, it's kinda like that, except made to fit people. AWESOME.

Anti-Bonus Factor: The Season

See, that picture is kinda funny until you picture humans doing it like that. NOT SO FUNNY ANYMORE, IS IT? The Season is basically a brief mating period on the ship when people, who are loaded up on hormones, just freaking go at it, all of the time, all over the place. Y'all, it's really, really creepy and gross. Of course, it's supposed to be, but still. I think I got the point about a paragraph in. I didn't need FOUR PAGES OF IT.

And this book is for ages 12 and up? REALLY? Not to sound like a prude but REALLY?

Casting Call:

Given the v. specific physical descriptions, this baby was easy to cast.

Rachel Hurd-Wood as Amy

Taylor Lautner as Elder

Relationship Status: Failure To Launch

There's been a lot of buzz about this book on the internet, and I couldn't WAIT to meet it. After all, a sci fi dystopia set on a spaceship sounds like it would make for a good time, and I was looking for something a little different to jazz up my literary love life. Maybe things would have ended better if my expectations hadn't been so high, but our relationship never took off. When it tried to impress me with all of its high-tech moves and Orwellian preaching, I just couldn't take it seriously. Sorry, book, but you and me? It just ain't in the stars.

P.S. No really. WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Wanna take this ship for a spin? I've got a copy to give away! Leave a comment (make sure to enter your email in the email field) and I'll pick a winner at random.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Across the Universe is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).