Amy is a 17-year-old girl cryogenically frozen aboard the ship Godspeed. She and her parents are making a 300 year trek across the universe to Centauri-Earth, where a team of scientists and military specialists (also frozen) hope to create a new world.
Elder is a 16-year-old boy, the youngest person aboard Godspeed. Someday, sooner than he'd like, he will take over Eldest's position as leader of the ship and it's monoethnic residents. Every person has the same dark hair, same olive skin, and the same almond shaped eyes: the result of being aboard Godspeed for centuries with a limited gene pool.
Elder hasn't been properly trained for his role as leader. Eldest is too distracted and busy to teach Elder what he needs to know, so Elder is left to his own devices. He stumbles upon a sub-level of the ship; a place he didn't know existed. There he finds a girl with hair so vibrant red and skin so white - he didn't know those colors were possible in a person! - he is irresistibly drawn to her.
Then something terrible happens. Someone unplugs the girl and she almost dies in her cryogenic chamber. And she's only the first. A string of murders and attempted murders slices through the frozens of Godspeed.
When Amy is violently awoken from her cryogenic state, she discovers they are still 49 years and 266 days away from Centauri-Earth. By the time they reach the planet, she will be older than her parents...if she's still alive. Gliding through space in a crowded ship, Amy has never felt more alone.
But, there is Elder.
Amy and Elder must hurry to discover the web of lies and secrets aboard the ship if they have any hope of saving the frozens, including Amy's parents, the future of mankind.
First of all, let me just say...there had better be a sequel! I seriously loved this book. It's very sci-fi, but enjoyably so. We get to see things from Amy's point of view, so she describes them using objects we can imagine (like a Post It note).
I found that the characters were so real and yet so flawed that they were believable. The mystery is intriguing and kept me turning the pages almost faster than I could read them.
I was surprised by how much this book got me thinking about human nature and the motivation for doing what's best - or at least perceived to be best.
Content caution: The residents of Godspeed have a mating season, called Season, so for a section of the book there is frequent mention of sex, and some description. There is also one moderately graphic attempted rape scene.
I found that even though Elder is the future leader of the ship, and takes that responsibility seriously, he's also a hormonal teenage boy.