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The Last Book In The Universe Paperback – March 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Philbrick's latest misfit protagonist embarks on an adventure in a fantastic and often frightening alternative world," said PW. "The creation of a futuristic dialect, combined with striking descriptions of a postmodern civilization, will convincingly transport readers." Ages 10-14.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Spaz, a boy who lives on the fringes of his surreal future world, partly because epilepsy prevents him from using the mind probes most people use to blot out reality, sets out on a classic quest to save his ill foster sister. To do so, he must cross forbidden territory and face frightening gangs and their leaders. He picks up companions as he travels: Ryter, a philosophic old man whose treasure is the book he is writing despite knowing that books and reading are of the past; Littleface, a young almost speechless child; and Linnea, a "prove" (genetically improved person). In saving his sister, Spaz learns about himself and his parentage. This action-packed story has some strong and provocative messages. It should prove popular among middle school listeners. Jeremy Davies' reading of Rodman Philbrick's text (Blue Sky Press, 2001) is very good. His soft, almost whispery voice usually suits the story well, but in the action scenes it is a little too subdued. This is a minor quibble. This is a good story to use with middle schoolers along with such titles as Lois Lowry's The Giver (HM, 1993) and Monica Hughes' Introduction to the Game (S&S, 1990). Public libraries will find it popular among science fiction fans as well as those wanting a good adventure story.
Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Sky Press (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439087597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439087599
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,077 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 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', 'The Young Man And The Sea', 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.

Customer Reviews

I believe this is one of the best books I've read.
I will just tell you that it is a great book and everything in the book just makes you want to read it more and more.
Well when you read The Last Book in the Universe, then you will understand.
Kingham's Kids

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Quaker Annie on July 16, 2002
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 16, 2007
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
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 5, 2000
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 20, 2006
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 6, 2002
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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