The Last Book in the Universe

The Last Book in the Universe

by Rodman Philbrick


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This fast-paced action novel is set in a future where the world has been almost destroyed. Like the award-winning novel Freak the Mighty, this is Philbrick at his very best.

It's the story of an epileptic teenager nicknamed Spaz, who begins the heroic fight to bring human intelligence back to the planet. In a world where most people are plugged into brain-drain entertainment systems, Spaz is the rare human being who can see life as it really is. When he meets an old man called Ryter, he begins to learn about Earth and its past. With Ryter as his companion, Spaz sets off an unlikely quest to save his dying sister — and in the process, perhaps the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439087599
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/28/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 46,270
Product dimensions: 7.36(w) x 11.06(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick has written more than a dozen novels for young readers. In 1993, he published his first children’s book, Freak the Mighty, which became an instant classic, and was made into a feature film. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg was a 2010 Newbery Honor Book. Philbrick’s other acclaimed novels include Max the Mighty, The Young Man and the Sea, The Last Book in the Universe, and Zane and the Hurricane. Philbrick divides his time between Maine and the Florida Keys. You can learn more about him on his website:

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Last Book In The Universe (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
DaquanMaxey More than 1 year ago
This is my second time reading “The Last Book In The Universe” by Rodman Philbrick and I am somewhat pleased with the content and structure of the book. The story consist of a character by the name of Spaz , who lives in a corrupt version of the world we know today ran by drug lords. Although the book starts out slow, as you read on, it develops a plot sequence, that is interesting. Many characters, like Lanayy, and Ryter, are easy to relate to. Spaz as a character is very realistic and believable , meaning his character is not all mystical and make believe . A good example would be just like the books of Harry Potter , his life is all make believe none of his life is realistic. If you like books you can relate to in your everyday life as a teen ,that contains action, this is the book for you. Rodman Phil brick’s ,whom is the author, style of writing is very suspenseful and creative. He uses literary devices such as symbolism and flashbacks. He uses symbolism when referring to Eden(the good part of the distraught world), which can be symbolized to heaven. Rodman Philbrick also presents many different morals in his book. The main moral is to not judge people by their appearances. This means that if someone looks perfect, that doesn’t mean they are perfect. Which to me and many others create a very addictiveness to the book to keep you reading, and trust me its worth reading to the end for a very explosive surprise. Mostly the events of the story doesn’t match up to the expectations of being as realistic as the characters. Even though the realizations of the events make be lacking in this story, the story is still overall pleasing. As I mentioned before the level of suspense in the book is very high . Which also contributes to how the authors writing style is compared to a book by William Shakespeare, you can obviously point out the differences. The setting of the story really has an dramatic effect on the elements and characters that are in it. Such as how the character Spaz lives in the poor part of town , were he could easily be subdued to dugs and other things in that area. Which also can determine if the story goes on or not. Overall , “The Last Book In The Universe” by Rodman Philbrick is a very action packed and suspenseful story. This was a job well done by Rodman Philbrick the story was a very exciting adventure for me . If you read this book you will be just as pleased with the contents and structure of the book as I am.
AndresVela More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, I read it in the seventh grade. This book has imagery out of this world, from dragging people on bikes to the pipe structure of a city. The symbols of a perfect place such as an Eden. I now can't read a book that doesn't implant an image, picture, or own movie into my head. Even the title, "The Last Book in the Universe" puts an image into your head of how the setting of this novel is, a place where reading and writing is a thing of the far past. The first paragraph of the book explains how life is and how people are different. The pros and cons of this new world. This book is great for teenagers and great to use in school as an example of great imagery.
Liz_S on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to love this book! Truly I did! At the very best it was ok. It took me awhile to get into the world that Rodman created, and the lingo was completely foreign. If you are reading this book for the first time there is a little cheat sheet in the back that explains the lingo. I may still read Freak the Might by this author because I heard really good things about it and the excerpt on the back sounds exciting. I really hope it's better than this book though.
vjmm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Futuristic and optimistic
Saladbits on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Utopia and dystopia, gets you thinking
ctmslusc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Book in the Universe was an amazing story. It is following Spaz, a young boy, who is on a quest to see his sister, Bean, one last time. He was taken away from his family unit due to his spaz, in other words, seizures, that he would sometimes get. This is what landed him the awful nickname. The story shows the quest of Spaz and Ryter as they follow the Pipe to get out of their latch and into Bean¿s latch. It is not an easy task and Spaz soon learns that lesson, as he learns many other lessons along the way.The Last Book in the Universe was a fun read for me. It had a lot of interesting parts and very good detail. I liked how Spaz learned lessons throughout his adventures. I also like the idea of proovs. Proovs are genetically modified humans that are perfected at birth. They played a big role in the story and I enjoyed it. I also like the quest Spaz is on. His sister, Bean, is dying and Spaz has to get to her quickly before she succumbs to her illness. This also plays a big role in the story and the ending. Speaking of the ending, I thought the author, Rodman Philbrick, did a phenomenal job. I won¿t go into detail but it wraps things up quite nicely. Definitely a book worth checking out and I would recommend it to anyone. I think it deserves 4 stars.
jrgates on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was interesting because of its culture and its look into what today's world could be like in the next decade or even century. I thought that is was interesting how everything was different from today's world, but I did not like it because it was hard to follow and hard to keep up with the many different things that were going on within the book.
hoffer30380 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has a very creative plot. It is filled with great literary devices such as: Alliteration, Foreshadowing, Questioning, etc. The author's craft in this book is truly wonderful. A lot of great words are included and allow you to explore new words that might come in use. Context clues are always included to support what a word might mean. This book is a "must read"!
booksquirm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book for the first time when I was maybe 10-12 years of age. I am now 19 and am still in love with the story created by Philbrick. I read this book through, intrigued by all the new words and the mystery of the plot/characters. There's no need to refer to a dictionary or anything of the sort because as long as you read the book thoroughly and are genuinely intrigued by the story, you will understand exactly what is going on and exactly what Philbrick is saying or referring to. It was a wonderful experience to read and one of the many books that allowed my love for books/reading/writing to continuously grow.
tbert204 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite YA/MG books. Philbrick effortlessly lets his characters tell the story with rich new vocabulary for a dystopian society. Gummies and proovs and mindprobes make this story fun to read. The plot is not just for entertainment but offers a glimpse at the dark side of pleasure-seeking through mindprobes as well as discovering an appreciation for what's real. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because the characters "tell" more than "show" quite a bit. I like first person stories but not when it's the protagonist telling me a story. I'd rather see it unfold through the main character's eyes.
Nhritzuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first, when reading this story, I needed to write down all of the new words and their meaning. I soon discovered a pattern. Most of the words were abbreviations and misspelled words, which logically resulted from the disappearance of the written word and reading. In fact, it made me think of text message language that seems to be used widely by teens today. There are many references to the brain going soft because people in the future stop using their brain cells to read and think. The act of reading is presented as a nearly extinct art in this story.
coriblake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The exact time period is unknown however we know the book takes place far into the future when even in the back times, people traveled in flying cars. This is a time when those living in the urb live in fear everyday. They live in fear of being cut off, having no place to live, or in fear of the mind probe. They are just normal and really want to be like those living in Eden who are genetically perfect. Eden is perfect in every way. The problem is, if you're a normal, you will never be allowed into Eden. If you are a proov living in Eden, you will never mix with the normals. This is the story of a normal; a young man named Spaz who travels across forbidden lands to find his sister who is deathly sick. Along the way, Spaz gets help from some unexpected individuals to lead him to his destination. Will Spaz get to see his sister one last time? Read The Last Book in the Universe and find out.
mjspear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Spaz goes on a quest to save his dying sister, Bean, in a post-apocalyptic future where no one reads and the human race is divided between the "normals" in Urb and the "preevs" in Eden. Musings on the role of the written word as institutional memory, the nature of perfectability (preevs are genetically-altered people) and the true meaning of family are matched with high-paced action and roller-coaster plot turns. There's plenty to like in this short SciFi gem.
MissBoyer3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Following the Big Shake, which destroyed most of civilization, a small group of individuals (the "proovs") retreated to Eden, learned how to improve themselves genetically, and sealed their environment off from the sprawling ruins inhabited by the remaining normals. Plagued by genetic defects, a toxic environment, and illnesses, normals like Spaz live in the Urb at the mercy of latch-bosses and their gangs. Spaz knows that his survival depends on Billy Bizmo and the Bully Bangers, so when they send him to rob an old man, he obeys. Ryter willingly surrenders his few possessions except for the pages of the book he is writing-the first time Spaz has seen anything like this. And when the boy sets out to find Bean, his dying foster sister, Ryter insists on accompanying him. Along the way, they are joined by Lanaya, a proov, and Little Face, an orphan. Finding Bean is hard enough; helping her appears to be impossible, until Lanaya takes the motley group back to Eden and confronts the rulers with the truth about the outside world. This is science fiction, not a fairy tale, and everyone does not live happily ever after...
meotoole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thuoght this book was very interesting. It has a lot of differnt hings going on so that the reader is always guessing what is coming next.
fnborries on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book to me seemed like a difficult book for children to read unless they have a wonderful imagination. I found it very hard for me to read. It is a science fiction book which you want to encourage any reading to students. I found it difficult because of the new language. It is about a boy named Spaz who is on a mission to find his little sister because she is sick.
sgerbic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed Dec 2002 I purchased this book for Stirling and couldn't put it down once I started it. A lot like other books, Ender's Game, Clockwork Orange, and various Star Trek episodes. But it is fresh in its own way with much hope for the future. You can't help but cheer for Spaz and friends as they venture to save Bean's life. Its a lot idealistic but we all need a bit of that now and again. I hope Stirling enjoys this as much as I did. 21-2002
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this story was good and the world was interesting, but the plot was weak. The world the author builds is captivating and interesting, but through out the story, not much happens. It is not bad, and the events are interesting as read, but when you finish you feel unfulfilled. There was more that needed to be done to really finish this. Overall, it was a good book but not fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I got used to the way the book was written it was an incredible read for me. One of the BEST if not the BEST books I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did this book for my book report and it waz ok but i sort of hate it not really worth reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a good one for anyon who likes dystopien novals or fusterrical novals
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book it has alot to say about the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine a world without books. In this book, a boy named Spaz tells a story through a voicewriter. Why isn't there any books? Well, there is no need to. Everybody else usesca mindprobe. The mindprobes have a needlethat sticks in your brain to compute information for you. In this case, Spaz can't use a minprobe because of a medical condition. Spaz lives in the future in which mostly everybody settles in Urb. Urb consists of clusters of cubes called stackboxes. Spaz does live in one. At the stackboxes, Spaz goes out to sreal loot from people. He doesn't choose to, but if he chooses not to steal, he will die. One day, Spaz goes to an elderly person named Ryter. When Spaz tries to steal goods, Ryter starts telling him about backtimes. One conversation ends up as the start of a suspenseful journey. Ryter has always wanted to write a book. Mind you, all books were destroyed becauae of the mindprobes. This journey wouldn't have started if Spaz's sister, Bean didn't get sick. The bad news spread around which caused Spaz and Ryter to start on their journey. The only way to get to Spaz's family was to follow the old pipe which crossed into his town. Eventually, both of them came to a town where proovs existed. If you're wondering what a proov is, they are genectically improved human beings that come out perfect. Out of the town come Spaz, Ryter, and a proov named Layaya who contines on rheir journey. Finally, after a long time, they reach Bean's house to help. A very good book with a good plot. I noticed that the book evolved around Spaz's journey. The book continues as the book moves on. This book would be geared to someone who likes a good book and someone that is wondering what the fututr might be. If you have trouble getting over hard words, this book is for you. The words have good flow and it is built with commonly used words. Any adults who like some sort of mystery/drama in a book, then this book is for you. The spaces in betwen the wordscare relatively easy to manage. Readind this book made me wonder about a book that I have borrowed from the Lockport Public Library called Rootless. A comparson of both books is, coincendentally, they are both about the future. The funny part is, the future is after boojs are destroyed. Rootless, the book from the library, also had a good plot too. Like in The Last Book in the Universe, Rootless has a good connection to history inside. The facts that are added are accurate in both books. For example, in The Last Book in the Universe, there is medical information that is true in the real world. While making this book, the author researched evidence to support his conclusions. I would give this book 5 stars because it has such an amazing story written in it. One thing that I like is, that this book has many interestkng facrs in it. On page 36, it says, "Many great humans have been epileptic." Also, the introduces new vocabulary. The reason is, since Ryter has been alive fir a long time, he remembers old words used in our time. On page 34, it says, " 'Foundling?' 'An old word' he says, 'but useful.' " Another word that you might be familiar with is in this quote. On page 141, it says, " 'The disease used to be called leukenia,' he tells us, ..." This book shows how it is going vto bw in the future, so this book is my most favorite book about the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic read. Original and charismatic. This book is a breath of fresh air. A must read!