At the end of December, I picked up Anna and the French Kiss after hearing two of my favorite YA authors John Green and Maureen Johnson gush about itAt the end of December, I picked up Anna and the French Kiss after hearing two of my favorite YA authors John Green and Maureen Johnson gush about it on Twitter. I wasn't disappointed. I stayed up in 3:30 in the morning reading it and immediately after I finished, I went to the author's website to simply find more, and, long story short, I did. I've tried re-tracing my steps to find out exactly how I stumbled across Perkins saying that Across the Universe would be the next big thing and as far as I know, maybe I hallucinated the entire thing. Either way, I found a summary online and wasn't exactly blown away. It didn't sound like something I would read. In general, I'm not a huge science fiction fan; I'd rather watch it on TV rather than read it, and even then, my sci-fic fandom doesn't extend beyond the realm of shows produced by the BBC.
But I went to Barnes and Noble the other day and back in the YA section, there was a stand-alone display the publisher has obviously sent; some nifty little cardboard stand that looked like the cover of the book (unbeknownst to me until three minutes ago, the book isn't slated to come out for another week. Good job B&N). I must have walked past the display a half dozen times before I finally noticed it, but once I did, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. There is something to be said for an amazing cover design because everyone knows that old saying "you can't judge a book by it's cover" it total b/s. Of course you can. And what makes you pick up a book in the first place? The cover. The design. Packaging is important and Penguin nailed it. After I finished the book and stared at it in my lap for a while, I realized how my complete attraction to the cover was perfectly fitting. Once you hold the book in your hands and see it and finish it, you'll (hopefully) understand too.
The book is like a mix of Big Brother, A Brave New World, the Gun Seller, and Disney's made-for-TV-movie series Zenon. And it's brilliant. Amy and her parents live on Earth in the year 2036, a time when the world as we know it is less-than-perfect. Her parents join an FRX sponsored mission wherein they agree to freeze themselves for five hundred years while they travel through space towards a new planet that shows signs of supporting life. Amy gets freezed and dreams endlessly until one day, she finds herself awoken and drowning in her ice box.
The best part about Across the Universe wasn't the plot. Don't get me wrong, it's an original, creative idea that's superbly written. No, the thing I loved best was just the raw emotion of it all. And I don't mean that in a sappy soapdrama, chick-lit kind of way. It's as much of a psychological thriller as it is a YA scifi novel. You never know the real truth or the fate of the characters until the end, and even then it leaves you craving a sequel, or just a promise that everyone - and everything - turns out okay. And on top of all that, you never feel as if you know who to trust, which made me feel constantly on edge and I never felt fully comfortable while reading the book. Everything was just so intense; I had to stop myself a few times and physically make myself close the book and set it aside for a few moments.
For her debut book, Revis has done a phenomenal job. I only hope that here's more in store in the future. ...more