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The Last Book in the Universe School & Library Binding – Mar 2000

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Product details

  • School & Library Binding: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books (Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613455983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613455985
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,987,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rodman Philbrick grew up on the New England coast, where he worked as a longshoreman and boat builder. For many years he wrote mysteries and detective novels for adults. Inspired by the life of a boy who lived a few blocks away, he wrote 'Freak The Mighty', the award-winning young-adult novel, which has been translated into numerous languages and is now read in schools throughout the world. The book was adapted to the screen as 'The Mighty', starring Sharon Stone, Gillian Anderson, James Gandolfini, Kieran Culkin, and Elden Henson, with original music provided by Sting.

Rodman Philbrick's other novels for young readers include 'The Fire Pony', 'Max the Mighty', 'REM World', 'The Last Book In The Universe', 'The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds', 'Lobster Boy', and 'The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg', a 2010 Newbery Honor book.

The Private Eye Writers of America nominated two of his T.D.Stash series as best detective novel, and then selected Philbrick's 'Brothers & Sinners' as Best Novel in 1993. A gothic tale of slavery and sea captains, 'Coffins' was published in 2002. Writing under the pen name 'William R. Dantz' he has explored the near-future worlds of genetic engineering and hi-tech brain control in books like 'Hunger', 'Pulse', 'The Seventh Sleeper', and 'Nine Levels Down'. He has published three thrillers under the pen name Chris Jordan - 'Taken', Trapped', and 'Torn' - featuring Randall Shane, a former FBI Special Agent who specializes in recovering lost children. He's just now undertaken a new Chris Jordan series about the very private investigator Naomi Nash, set in Boston. The first volume, 'Measure of Darkness', will be published in December 2011 by Mira Books.

Rod and his wife Lynn Harnett, who have collaborated on a number of series for young readers, including 'The House on Cherry Street' and 'The Werewolf Chronicles', divide their time between Maine and the Florida Keys.

Product Description


'A fine book, highly recommended' - School Library Journal; 'Philbrick has created some memorable characters in this fast-paced adventure, which will leave readers musing over humanity's future' - Booklist; 'Danger, despair and drama permeate this adventure story which presents its hero with a major moral dilemma' - Booktrust Children's Books; 'Vivid storytelling makes this book utterly absorbing. Set in the future following a cataclysmic event which had devastated the world, readers are prompted to think and consider what is important; not of their day-to-day problems but of the wider meaning of life, of their place in the world and what is happening to our planet Earth...Each character adds a further layer involvement and draws the reader further into the tale. Challenging, but well worth the effort' - Carousel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"Nobody around here reads anymore.

Why bother, when you can just use a mindprobe needle and shoot all the images and excitement straight into your brain?

I've heard of books, but they were long before I was born, in the backtimes before the Big Shake, when everything was supposedly perfect, and everybody lived rich.

In real life, nobody comes to your rescue. Believe me, I know. But then I met Ryter, this old gummy who had a lot of crazy ideas. Together we tried to change the world..." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ancient Mariner on 2 July 2015
Format: Paperback
Most of the popular dystopian novels for younger readers that I have read recently rely most heavily on adventure/action. Think Hunger Games or Maze Runner and the like. And, they are fine books.

This one is different. It is much more like a quest novel, with a thoughtful calm overriding everything else. Sure, there are dangers, and escapes, and close calls, and villainous enemies, but no attempt is made to make any of that feel truly threatening. And there is no heroic derring-do; not a single hero ever lays a hand on a single bad guy. The good guys talk, they reason, they argue, they convince, they show the other guys a "better way", and so they win out.

This is a slim book. The alt-world is just sketched in. The plot is sort of obvious. The characters don't exactly break new ground. But, you know, you could almost say the same thing about "1984" or "Brave New World".

So, a young reader's book of ideas, (equality, planning for the future, caring for others, individuality, sacrifice, nobility, loyalty, respect, dignity), wrapped up as an adventure story. Not bad. (By the way, if you sample the first chapter, bear in mind that this book takes a little time to get going, so the sample will give you a good idea of the writing style and the vocabulary, but not so much the eventual story.)
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By ShivMoz4 on 27 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
amazing book for all ages...relevant plot to tech society that deviate from time honoured paperbacks a must read i could not put down
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 172 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Kept us reading, made us think! 16 July 2002
By Quaker Annie - Published on
Format: Paperback
My youngest child (almost 11 as of this writing) often enjoys having books read aloud, in the evening or while we're on vacation far from the television. It can be a challenge to find something we'll both enjoy. My only stipulation is that I get to pick the book (and that they won't come from his favorite horror series books) His stipulation is that we'll stop reading if the first chapter is boring.
This book was one we both enjoyed. We read a chapter or two a night, sometimes more when it was really exciting. We always looked forward to reading some more.

The main character is an outcast within an outcast society, Spaz (an epileptic loner.) He meets some other misfits -- an elderly writer in a world without books, a homeless five year old who can only say one word and an advanced (improved) human who goes against the rules of her own perfect Eden.
The story, told in first person from the view of Spaz, was engrossing, filling our minds with sometimes horrifying visions of a new futuristic world, where a huge earthquake years ago upset civilization as we now know it. The gray skied, cement grounded cities (Urbs) are run by latchlords, gang lords who make and enforce their own ever changing rules. They can and do eliminate anyone for any reason - or no reason at all. Escape from reality is sought by nearly everyone, including the latchlords. Most people have become addicts to needles inserted into the brain, giving the viewer a realistic mind show with images of a perfect world. Mindprobes have replaced drugs, TV and video games, but they are beginning to disrupt the 'leadership' of the latchlords, bringing anarchy and total destruction to the Urbs.
Far away from the Urbs (which are connected by pipelines) is Eden, home of the "proovs" who are genetically improved humans, thought to be superior to the 'normals.' "Normals" aren't allowed in Eden, where they could actually see a blue sky and green grass, things they 'd heard about from old timers, but which they believe can only be fairy tales.
Spaz's foster sister Bean - the only human who means anything to him - is dying in another Urb, and this emotionally numbed boy decides to risk leaving his Urb and travel through the pipelines to visit her one last time.
He is unhappy to end up journeying with his outcast acquaintances Ryter and Chox), aided by Lanaya (a perfect girl from Eden) on a journey to save Bean -- and while they're at it, to change the world. Likeable characters plus some who aren't so nice. A touch of violence and scary confrontations. A good book for encouraging discussions of prejudices, environmental issues, reading, writing and alternative communications.
We liked it!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Good book with a lot of symbolism 16 Jan. 2007
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is very interesting, because it is using many similarities between their world and ours. It also has a lot of symbolism with the mind probes representing drugs,and anything you can get addicted to in our world today.

It starts out slow, but as you read on, it developes a plot sequence, that is interesting. Many characters, like Spaz, Lanayy, and Ryter, are easy to relate to.

In this story, Eden is representing heaven. Many people strive to be in its presense.

Rodman Philbrick has implied many different morals in this book. The main moral is to not judge people by their appearances. This means that if someone looks perfect, that doesen't mean they are perfect. This also means that someone who is not coordinated or polished could still be a good friend.

Another moral of this book is to keep reading. Without reading, we would loose all of our current knowledge, and future research would not be possible.

Over all, it is a good read, for children and young adults. As the plot develops, you understand the true purpose of each of these relatable characters. I would highly recomend this book!!

Mitchell, Nathan, & Cory
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Last Book in the Universe 5 Nov. 2000
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very odd, but interesting book. It is definitely a science fiction book. The setting takes place sometime in the future in a place called Urb. Spaz finds out that his sister is sick in another latch. He goes through extreme adventures with an old man and a little boy. He goes through alot and rescues a proov girl, Lanaya. In reward Lanaya escorts him to his sick sister. They find out about Eden. This book is a combination of the book, The Giver and the movie Matrix. There were alot of messages and references to other authors and how important it is to read. We should not take advantage of having books.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Last Book In The Universe 20 Jan. 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book. Though it struck me to be much like Fahrenheit 451 and The Giver, it provided yet another view on what our society could degrade to. This is a dystopia book, not a utopia book. It had an engaging storyline, showing us this sucky new world through the eyes of a "Spaz Boy", who is charmed and cursed with a physical rejection to a form of entertainment. He meets some old gummy who seems stupid and redundant, but as time passes, more and more of his wisdom is revealed, eventually culminating to the point where he shares many of the same values and mental principles of people today. One of the "morals" of this book is to never stop reading books, and Rodman Philbrick links books strongly with knowledge, understanding, and overall wellbeing. This means that without books, society as we know it could degrade as drastically as to the point where Spaz Boy's world has. Overall, the Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick is a seemingly basic story with many extra lead-offs to moral issues addressed in more important books. This book is therefore comparable to sci-fi classics and childrens books at the same time.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Eden vs. Urb 6 May 2002
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is about an epileptic boy named Spaz who goes on a quest to save his little sister, Bean, from dying of leukemia. The main characters of this book are Spaz, Bean, Billy Bizmo, who is boss of the latch, one of the sections of the Urb in which Spaz lives; Ryter the old "gummy"; Lanaya, the "proov" girl; and her contributors or parents who are named Jinn and Bree. What I like about this book is that Rodman Philbrick really used his imagination when making this book. He made a prediction of what the future might be like. The future in this story is part paradise and part "I don't want to go there". The future is a place where the people don't have a past or future because they use mind probes. Mind probes are needles tat are injected into your brain to make you see virtual reality. It is also a place that is so polluted that you would not even want to look at it. Another thing that I admire about this book is that the author made the language easy to read and understand. This book is full of action and suspense which I relish. In my opinion, this book is among the better books that I have read in my life. Harry Potter has the suspense but does not have the creativity that this book has. In Harry Potter there are wizards that have already been thought of before, but in this story, there are the Urb, Eden, and the Big Shake!!! I give this book a rating of four stars ****. I left the fifth one out because the end was depressing and could have been better. The last part of the book left me hanging. Other than that, the book was spectacular!!!!!!!!!!
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