Across the Universe Summary & Study Guide

Beth Revis
This Study Guide consists of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Across the Universe.
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Across the Universe Summary & Study Guide Description

Across the Universe Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis begins with 17 year old Amy Martin and her parents, Maria and Robert, in a cryo lab, deciding who will be frozen first.

Maria, a geneticist, ends up going first so Amy will not be afraid. The process is explained, from inserting an IV to sealing the eyes, inserting tubes into the stomach, and eventually, filling the clear box with a strange blue liquid. Lastly, the box is flash frozen and then put into a drawer, similar to a morgue.

Before Robert goes into the box to start his process, he tells Amy that she will go last. If she chooses, she can stay behind and live with her aunt and uncle. He will not hold his daughter to her promise.

Amy is traumatized by watching her parents go through the process. As top scientists, it is vital that they agreed to be frozen and reanimated 300 years in the future. After a while, Amy decides to go ahead with the procedure even though it is going to be painful.

Soon, Amy is frozen. However, Amy quickly notices that she is still conscious.

"People have been cryo frozen before me, and none of them were conscious. If the mind is frozen, it cannot be awake or aware" (Chap. 1, p. 12).

The story moves forward to 250 years later. During the time Amy was inanimate, she had thoughts or dreams although this should not have been possible. The reader is introduced to the operators of the ship - Godspeed. Elder/Eldest is the name given to the ship's leaders. The Eldest is the main leader; Elder is a leader in training. Each Eldest/Elder is created in a lab on Godspeed. The eldest person of his generation will be the ship's leader when the time is appropriate. People do not live long lives on Godspeed.

The current Eldest is a hard man. The Elder, a 16 year old, is impatient that his mentor will not reveal all there is to know about the ship and how it operates.

Amy's glass box becomes mysteriously unplugged and she is hastily reanimated. Amy is saved by Elder and the ship's doctor. Amy must go through many changes very fast, one of which being that she has been reanimated almost 50 years early. With no way to safely reanimate her parents, Amy is all alone. Only Elder and his friend Harley will keep Amy company and protect her when possible.

Eldest is angry about Amy's presence. He announces to the entire ship that she is a freak and should be avoided.

Amy demands to know what has happened to her. Things escalate when other frozens are unplugged. Some live and are refrozen - some die. Amy finally figures out that there is a military connection which makes her fear for her father's life.

The operation of the ship is somewhat complex. People are drugged into submission for easy rule. People who are no longer useful are killed. The majority of the people, "Feeders," are told what to do, when to do it, and when to mate. Drugs are used to remove individual thought.

It is learned that Orion, the Record Keeper is really an Elder that was supposed to have been killed. He arrives and kills Eldest. It is also learned that he is the one that has been killing frozens. Orion believed that the military personnel would turn the ship's people into slaves. Orion is frozen by Elder.

Elder is suddenly cast into the role of Eldest and the ship's ruler. He outlaws drugs and begins to try to figure out how to undo all of the misdeeds done by the former Eldests and how to build a future with Amy.

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