Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The basics

Title: Across the Universe


Series: Across the Universe #1

- Across the Universe (January 2011)
- A Million Suns (January 2012)
- Shades of Earth (January 2013)

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Goodreads Summary:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

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.
Read a full summary of Across the Universe by Beth Revis below. If you can’t remember what happened in Across the Universe and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.
Thanks a million to Lindsey Tang, who surprised us with this amazingly detailed recap!

In short

Amy gets frozen in a tank with her parents on a ship called Godspeed to go to a new planet. She gets waken up fifty years earlier finding out someone tried to kill her. Soon, Amy, and Elder find other tanks being opened. Amy and Elder try to figure who the killer it, that are melting all the people. In the end, they find out it was Orion behind all the killing.

What happened in Across the Universe?

  • Amy’s mother strips, and goes into the cryogenic tank/chamber to be frozen, and then awoken three hundred years later. Her father decides to go next, and tells Amy she has a choice if she wants to be frozen or not. He says that her aunt and uncle are waiting outside for her.
  • Amy decides to be frozen as well. While she is the men starts talking how they will be frozen for three hundred and one years, and not three hundred years. This starts to make Amy panic, and surface above the liquid, that will freeze her, so she can hear why. They soon pull her under the liquid as soon as they see her struggling.
  • Amy for some reason conscious, but unable to move since she’s still frozen. She assumes she’s having nightmares.
  • Someone takes Amy out of the chamber, and pours a liquid on her to make her ice melt and awake, but she doesn’t, thus her going back into the chamber.
  • Elder finds the cryogenic tank/chambers at the bottom level, because Orion showed him the blueprints, and stops at Amy’s staring at her body, and finds her alluring with her odd features.
  • Amy awakens, and her body melts. Doc and Elder run to the last level to get her, and save her just in time. Eldest wants to freeze again, but they can’t because there’s a chance she would die.
  • Amy wakes up in the Ward (in the Hospital), and finds Elder sleeping on a chair. She starts to question him, and discovers he has an odd accent. She asks for the landing date, discovering they’re fifty years till landing, and expects her parents to be woken up as well.
  • Eldest coms Elder and it is ignored. Eldest finds Elder getting flowers for Amy, and tells him to continue his research assignments, but Elder refuses. Because of this Eldest makes Elder receive a screeching sound though his wi-com.
  • Eldest doesn’t know what to do with Amy, and thinks about throwing her into space though the hatch. He finds it easy to do since she was “nonessential cargo,” meaning she is unimportant to the mission.
  • Because of Amy’s physical features, Eldest says he is worried that she will cause a disturbance, and trouble for the other passengers, but Doc suggests for her to just stay in the Ward.
  • Amy goes to the Feeders level to run around the ship, and compares it to Earth, because instead of real air, the sun, and rain, it’s just recycled air, a light bulb, and sprinklers.
  • Elder and Doc hear an alarm. Usually the alarm for when the tanks are open. They go down the fourth level, where are the chambers are stored, and discover number 100, William Robertson, has melted and died.
  • Amy goes for another run, and this time she is questioned by some of the feeders. Since her appearance is different, they ask what is she, rather than whom. An old woman appears, and makes the crowd go away, and continue on with their work.
  • Elder goes down to the fourth level, and listens to Doc and Eldest conversation. They talk by the hatch, and release William to the stars. Elder is shocked by the sight of all the stars since he has never seen real stars.
  • Amy is by the wall and feels trapped in the ship. She puts the fake mud on her face, and Orion finds her. He takes her to the Recorder Room, and cleans off her face and hands.
  • Amy starts to tell all the Feeders that she’s from Earth, and starts to tell them about the endless sky, and a real sun. Soon everyone cocks their heads, and listens to an all-call from Eldest. He starts to say not to believe anything that Amy says. He says that she’s an experiment gone wrong, that she’s a freak, and should be treated as one. Since Amy can’t hear any of this, she’s confused when everyone yells at her, calls her a freak, and doesn’t believe a word she’s saying.
  • Harley takes her back to her room, Elder meets them there, and they tell her about the all-call announcement.
  • Amy discovers that Elder is not supposed to know him parents. During this conversation he tells her to calm down by drinking water, and with paint, she starts a list with as much information of the murder victims she can gather.
  • Amy uses paint to see if there’s any trace of the murder left of the fourth level. Elder and Eldest has the same authorization name so when the finger print is scanned it says Eldest/Elder. Though the fingerprint had a scar, so it couldn’t have been Elder. Thus he assumes its Eldest.
  • The Season starts to begin, and Amy sees many people kissing, and fondling each other. She is disgusted, and known this is completely unnatural.
  • Elder and Amy kiss during the Season, and she starts to wonder if she really has feelings for him or if it’s just the Season effecting him.
  • Amy finds out that the feeders are unaware that they are genetically modifying the animals, because they are told that they are just inoculations.
  • Amy finds out that their parents were allowed small storage to bring personal belongings on the trip. She discovers her trunk is empty, because her father thought she wouldn’t go on the ship with them. She takes notebooks, photos, pencils, and a cross necklace from her parents trunks. They hear a sudden sound, and she drops all her items. Elder, Harley, and Amy, dash to the chambers. Elder coms Doc and he rushes over seeing that the person hardly melted, and was able to be put back in the chamber. They then see that another person has been melted from the day before.
  • Amy and Harley goes to the garden, and Harley realizes that he forgot his pants. Amy tells him to go, and get them without her, but he’s worried about her since the Season’s going on. He eventually gives in, and leaves.
  • Luthor (Luthe) and three other boys are hidden behind a tree while Amy’s walking around. She starts to run, because she doesn’t trust Luthe at all. Amy trips on some people on the ground, and Luthe gets Amy pinned onto the ground. He attempts to rape her, but Harley comes in on time, and saves her.
  • Amy goes onto the fourth level to be with her parents, and thinks about whether or not to unfreeze her parents, though she doesn’t.
  • Elder finds Eldest in the lab on the fourth level. The water pump catches his eyes, and he asks questions of suspicion about them. Eldest tells him that vitamins are added into the water to keep everyone healthy. During the Season, they add hormones to increase the people’s sexual desires.
  • Eldest’s photograph in the hall of the Recorder Room is changed from Eldest’s to Elder’s, painted by Harley.
  • Amy goes to the Hospital wanting to speak to Doc. She sees a large line of women, and when she enters. She requests a nurse for her to speak to Doc, and she leads her to the room the women are facing. When the door is opened for her, a woman on a bed with her legs on the stirrups of a bed. While speaking to him, he gives the women a gen mod material to her baby, and Amy runs.
  • Harley tells Amy how he was in love once, so that’s possibly why he’s not affected by the Season. Amy discovers that Kayleigh had killed herself.
  • Harley and Elder receive an all-call in the Keeper Level. Elder assumes that it is bad news. When they reach the Keeper Level, they are shown fake stars, and Eldest tells them that they are seventy-five years away from Centauri-Earth. Amy is blank like the other passengers, and for some reason agrees with whatever Eldest is saying.
  • Elder takes Amy to Doc to see what’s wrong with her. Amy mentioned to Elder about being pinned down, and finds out that trauma makes the condition worse. Doc gives Amy Inhibitor pills, medicine that deflects the phydus in the water.
  • Amy and Elder go into the Recorder Room, and Amy sees how most of the historical information is false. She sees that the Gettysburg Address was altered to look like it was against racism, and she sees that, that is what Eldest wants him to think.
  • Amy realizes that something happened during the Plague where all the records of it were destroyed. Eldest later takes Elder to the Learning Center, and tells him that there was no Plague.
  • Amy takes Steela to the fourth floor of the Hospital, not knowing that they were going to kill her.
  • Elder finds out that they ships is two hundred and fifty year behind schedule, because the engine is not using full effort. He also finds out that many people died from suicide, murder, and riots, rather than plague. While talking to Eldest, he tells him that there’s phydus in the water, and that the people are only calm, because they’re using phydus.
  • Elder sleeps in the fourth level waking up to the smell of paint. He thinks that it was Harley, so he walks around. He sees red X’s on many of the chambers. He runs to the hatch to ask him, but he sees paint everywhere and sees him in the hatch, then sucked into space.
  • Before Harley died, he said that Amy might’ve been an accident to be killed, and to not compare herself with everyone else. When Amy thinks of this, all the people that have died, or almost did, were in the army.
  • Elder and Amy go to the fourth level and sees all the marked chambers open. They both quickly close them before they fully melt.


How did Across the Universe end?

Elder and Amy overhear Eldest and Doc fighting about the other Elder. He apparently went off the map, but Eldest still thinks he’s alive. Doc believes he’s dead. Elder then picks up the chair he and Amy were hiding from and throw it against the water pump with phydus. Eldest then yells at Elder telling him that he wouldn’t be a good leader, when he does; Amy pulls out the wires of the water pump.

Elder finds out that all the Elders and Eldests are cloned people instead of being born by people. The other Elder, Orion, walks slowly out of the shadows and walks toward the bucket of phydus. Everyone starts to slowly notice him. They’re all in awe, and then Eldest rages in anger from believe he was dead, but before he could say anything, Orion dumps all the phydus on top of him. Eldest then dies.

Orion explains how he took out his wi-com, and escaped. He also says that Eldest never told anyone the real mission of the ship. He says the real reason those people are frozen are because they are to be the new colonists of the new planet. Also that Elder gave him the idea to unplug everyone. Orion gives Elder a choice whether he or Elder will tell him the reason he unplugged everyone. Before Orion can say anymore taunting words, Elder pushes him into the spare chamber in the room, and freezes him.

Elder explains that he had unplugged Amy from the chamber, but she forgives him since he was the only one to ever tell her the truth on the ship.

anything else

Godspeed: The ship.
Centauri-Earth: The planet they were suppose to land on.
Eldest: Leader.
Elder: Next leader.
Phydus: Drug used on the passengers on the ship to make them obedient, and uncaring.
The Season: A time where everyone starts to make, uncontrollably, unless they are not on phydus.
Wi-com: Device everyone has in their neck, so people can communicate with others, and know where they are at.

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