A YA sci-fi book about a cryogenically frozen girl who’s woken up 50 years too early during a 300-year expedition to a new planet? Yes please.
Come on, what a cool premise. Amy (the frozen girl who gets unfrozen) is stuck aboard the spaceship Godspeed, lonely without her still-frozen parents and hated by the monoethnic inhabitants of the ship who think she’s just a crazy red-headed liar. The author, Beth Revis, alternates perspectives between Amy and Elder, the future leader of the ship. I was impressed that each character had a different voice (most alternating perspectives feel arbitrary to me, like the author just typed a character’s name at the beginning of the chapter and viola! it’s supposed to be from that character’s point of view), and I loved the sense of claustrophobia that Revis created. I really got a feel for how trapped Amy felt on the ship. Additionally, I didn’t see a lot of the plot twists coming, so there were a lot of fun ah ha! moments.
Across the Universe is the first book in a trilogy, and the second one–A Million Suns–has been out since early this year. I’ll definitely be reading the next two after I make my way through the massive stack of books I’ve got waiting.
Besides writing a great debut, Revis has an equally great blog. She gives lots of useful writing advice and seems so down to earth and likable that you’ll want to be friends with her. One of my favorite things is that she writes a lot about her own journey to publication. This woman wrote TEN FULL NOVELS before she got published.
One a year. For ten years.
That’s a lot of novels.
I find this both encouraging and horribly, horribly depressing. On the one hand, all of her hard work paid off and she got published and got a book deal for a trilogy and is living her dream. On the other, she had to work really effing hard for ten years to get there (watch this video to see her stack of unpublished work).
It’s so hard to say when any writer will write The One. The One that will be life-changing, get you an agent, get you published. Some authors sell their first or second book. Some don’t sell one until the eleventh. And the thing is, you can’t know which one you are until you get that magical yes one day.
What I do know for sure is that you absolutely can’t get that yes unless you write something. So if you’re struggling through your first novel and worrying that it’ll never be worth all the work, just remember that every single published author had to write a first novel at some point. Even if it’s not The One, you’ll look back at it at some point and see how much your writing has evolved and how the first one was a step towards something.
And those are my Friday-night words of wisdom. Good night.