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The Last Book in the Universe

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  5,715 ratings  ·  570 reviews
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 entertainmen
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Paperback, 223 pages
Published 2000 by Scholastic
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsDivergent by Veronica RothMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsInsurgent by Veronica Roth
YA Dystopia Novels
106th out of 720 books — 8,197 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
173rd out of 1,973 books — 17,307 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Amy
ANOTHER NEW FAVE! It starts out pretty slowly, but the ending is remarkable. Another book that shows how sad the world would be without books. Indulges the passion for books.
Tracy
Aug 19, 2008 Tracy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teen-age boys, kids with epilepsy
We listened to this as a family on a trip to Lake Powell, and we all liked it a lot. It first grabbed and held our attention because the hero is epileptic, as is one of our sons. How often does epilepsy play a part in saving the world? It does in this book :-) Thank goodness for authors who can incorporate teens illnesses into stories in a positive light without preaching. That bit of the story may mean nothing to most readers, but it was a nice boost for our family.

The reader was that same guy
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Jen
Jan 14, 2015 Jen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids who like postapocalyptic tales if they understand them
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L12_luisespinoza Espinoza
This is a captivating futuristic novel where it's author, Rodman Philbrick, does a masterful job of engaging the reader through its characters and plot. "If you're reading this, it must be a thousand years from now. Because nobody around here reads anymore. Why bother, when you can just probe it?" From these very first sentences of the book, the reader is pulled in to this fascinating story.

The story tells of a journey taken by Spaz in a post-apocalyptic world (as a result of "the big shake", or
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Sylvia
Kalo ditanya sejak kapan suka science fiction-kind-of books? I'll say sejak baca bukunya Scott Westerfeld yg judulnya Uglies. Tadinya kurang begitu suka dengan ide membaca buku science fiction, secara yang ada dalam pikiran adalah cerita yang mengada-ada, dan menggunakan bahasa scitific yang aneh dan njlimet. Tapi surprisingly, I like them. And I like this book a lot.

Setting cerita adalah di masa depan. Jauhhhh setelah terjadi gempa yang menghancurkan seluruh dunia dan hanya beberapa hal dari ma
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Art
Mar 12, 2009 Art rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Reading and path we will take if we stop reading.
Recommended to Art by: I wanted to read more Philbricks books
Think of Farenheit 451, 1984, Alas Babylon & Z is for Zachariah.
Mr. Philbrick quotes various authors throughout this story w/a surprise ending.
I found it interesting of his description of the near future when no one reads.
WOW!
Andres
This book struck me as an interesting book. It takes place 200 years after the "shake." It was this huge earthquake that apparently was world wide and destroyed if not everything the most important thing on earth, a pipe with the width of a football field and the length around the world that held all of the earths water supply. The shake killed a lot of the population. So what it really did was mess up the earth and man-kind is struggling for it's survival. Over time man-kind forgot reading and ...more
Lisa Rathbun
I really enjoyed this story of a grim futuristic world sharply divided between the "normals" in Urb and the "proovs" in Eden. Lots of comparisons could be made here - for example with "The Giver" especially in the aspect of old man/mentor passing on knowledge to a younger man. The story was violent but did not use bad language. Speaking of language, do not let the strange vocabulary in the first chapter throw you off. The slang words help make this universe convincing. The words are consistent t ...more
Emily
Aug 15, 2008 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who needs an excellent read
The world has turned upside down... and books are a thing of the past. Mind probes are in and people spend their days with needles implanted in their brains to experience a story as if they are indeed in the story.The glitch? Mind needles force people to forget thing, IMPORTANT things, like history, the cure for cancer(which has been both created and forgotten by this time) and the idea of what true emotions are. But hey almost everyone's doing it. Everyone except an epileptic boy named Spaz and ...more
Hava
Aug 30, 2010 Hava rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenage boys who love sci-fi
Such an interesting premise - a future without books. A future where everything you want to think or dream about is shot into your brain with a needle. When I first heard the idea behind this book, I was intrigued. I checked it out and read it that same day (it's a really easy read and I sped through it at lightning speed).

However, the book did not live up to its premise, at least to me. It was okay, and I can see how others would enjoy it more, but to me, it just wasn't my cup of tea. There was
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Carm
I was twice recommended this book by students and finally decided I had time to squeeze it in to the reading queue. It's a bit like other dystopian teen books, only it's shorter and written for a slightly younger crowd. It uses its own lingo which is pretty easy to figure out... To kill someone is to cancel them. An old person is a gummy. The Big Shake seems to be an earthquake that changed the world and led to things as they are at least where Spaz lives. Spaz is a boy who is also our protagoni ...more
Flavia Tepozotlan Styles
I thought it was amazing how he was expressing his thoughts and feelings through out the whole story.I also loved the ending and how unexpected things happened.The suspence creation was well planned and great plot the story had.The adventure the book takes you to is fantastic because it makes you feel like you are actually living it with them.
hope mohammed
من اجمل الكتب التي قراتها على الاطلاق تتحدث عن الكتاب الاخير الذي يدونه البطل سماغ والذي يعيش في عالم انقسم ع نفسه نتيجة سياسات مدمرة .. قراتها متعبه وممتعه صعبه الا يتعلق قلبك بما يحدث وبما لا تتمنى ان يحدث ..
اعتب عليها قلة صفحاتها .. واتمنى حقا ان يتغير العالم للافضل والا ينتكس هكذا
Britta Jensen
One of my students remarked that this is the best book ever written. He called it perfect. I have to agree with him. This book will change your life!
Cheryl
This is one of those memorable, but less widely read, books of the kind that often shows up in the GR Group "What's the Name of that Book?"

There's Dickensian dystopia with gangs and orphans, and a Odysseyian quest, and an underdog hero, and an Eden populated by the naive & self-centered, and a bunch of authentically interesting characters we get to know well.

It also reminds me a bit of Pullman's "His Dark Materials" in some ways, and of Lowry's "The Giver." Even more does it evoke thought
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Sarah
I have recently got into this type of novel. (That being dystopian) and it has probably been my favorite one so far. (The mere title of the book also encouraged me to read it lol) I liked how it incorporated history into it even though it is a work of fiction. And that fact also helped me relate to the characters. In particular the main character Spaz. (I know for certain now that if in real life they create the 'probs' i will refuse to let them insert one). I also enjoyed the actual style. I ha ...more
Lauren
The Last Book in the Universe takes place far into the future after the world has been destroyed by an earthquake known as the Big Shake. It is about a boy nicknamed Spaz. He receives a message from his adopted sister that she is dying, and wants to see him. He then goes on a quest to get to her, but first he has to get through the different gangs that control each part of the Urb. An old man names Ryter, who is an author working on the last book in the universe, hence the name of the book, come ...more
Judie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joseph
I'm kicking myself for not reading this book when I first learned of it years ago. It's a great dystopia, up there with The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Windup Girl, and Ready Player One. I like this sort of dystopia, one where futuristic technology has resulted in prejudicial separation of the citizens after a great tragedy and the hero works toward correcting that. I also appreciated how the main character's epilepsy is used as a strength rather than a weakness and how the old man shows the powe ...more
Steven
This is a "tweeners" or young adult novel set in the post-apocalyptic future. The main character, never named other than "Spaz", lives in a "Latch" (neighborhood) which is part of the "Urb" (city). Each latch us run by a gang with a leader. This is where the "normals" all live. Crime and disease are rampant. Some of the people are degenerating into animals. Across the "zone" is "Eden" where the "proovs" (genetically improved humans) live.

The story is about Spaz who is befriended by "Ryter", an o
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Sam Ronca
Anyone who is looking for a quick read and laugh will love this book. This book identifies the issues with society today and our lack of foresight into the many possible natural disasters that could befall our country, or world,any day. You will follow the story of Spaz, an epileptic teenager in the gang-controlled, post-apocalyptic world of The Urb who with the last known writer, Ryter, goes on a life changing journey where he discovers what the world has come to. This book deserves all the sta ...more
Tommy Tran
I read this book a LONG time ago but it changed my life. I will never forget the character Ryter. People need to understand that reading is an important part of society. Without writing and reading the world will not be able to change and grow in a healthy manner. I recommend this book to EVERYONE!
Lisa
Good science fiction introduction for Middle School students, but stealing to many ideas from other authors to be a worthwhile read for more experienced readers. Atwood, Bradbury, Orwell and Co. just do it a lot better!
It is a nice idea to have the protagonist carry the last book in his head as a story to be told later, when people appreciate books again, but it is far to close to the ending scene of Fahrenheit 491 where all refugees wander around reciting lost books to themselves. The genetical
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Johanna Fickel
I completed The Last Book in the Universe a little over a week ago and I probably should have posted it then, but alas that time has passed. Anyway on to the book. The Last Book in the Universe (further known as TLBitU because the title is way too long and I'm way too lazy) was a pretty good read. It's set in a dystopian future where something called "The Big Shake" destroyed the world as we know it. The book focuses on a boy named Spaz who lives in the Urb, a place where gangs rule and poverty ...more
Martique M
I found this book in my library a few years ago, the title and cover seemed interesting. This is probably the main reason I decided to read this book. What I found interesting about the setting of this story is, that it is in a world that was torn by a major earthquake. Spaz, the main character, lives in the U.S. but it is now four different Latches. Spaz lives in a Latch that is ran by Billy Bizmo. Well Spaz gets a message that his adoptive little sister is sick and dying. Spaz had to leave his ...more
Julie Decker
In the dystopic future where most cities are giant flophouses and only genetically improved humans live in a comfortable place far away, an epileptic boy carries the slur "Spaz" as his only name. In his city, most people use mindprobes to distract themselves with mental images, but he can't use them because his epilepsy prevents it. Spaz works for a latch-boss who assigns him duties, but one day, when he's assigned to steal from an old man named Ryter, his life changes. He finds out his adoptive ...more
Michael H
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick, is an enticing story of a poor teenager named Spaz with epilepsy, living in what is known as the “Urb”. The world surrounding him is post-apocalyptic, coming after the “Big Shake”. There is constant contrasting between the poor people who live in the “Urb” and proovs (almost perfect people who have been genetically improved) of Eden. Nearly everybody in this age doesn’t know how to read, why would you when you could get everything a book has to ...more
Andrew Suh
One of the resons why i picked this book was because it is mice and slim. Because of it's shortness it helps me with goodreads and I can enjoy it when I read it. Well the story brhind this book is mostly about a boy named spaz and how he wanted to be normal. Later in this story his sister gets sick and the only way to save her is to take her to eden and to save her in a healing system.The main reason I chose this book because I wanted a short book for once and this book caught my eye because of ...more
Arianna
Spaz goes to rob Ryter, but ends up talking to him instead and then takes his stuff. Spaz knows he didn't take everything of Ryter's, so he goes back and decides not to take what he came for. A messenger comes to Spaz's cube and tells him that Bean is ill and wants to see him. Spaz goes to Ryter for help and they take their journey along the pipe to get to Bean. They face a lot of obstacles and end up becoming friends with Lanaya, a proov. When they get to Bean, Spaz takes her to Eden in search ...more
Sam
What an amazing book? So much to say about this. The Last Book In The Universeis about a guy named Spaz and an old man named Ryter going through lenches to go save Spazs' sister that is dying. Its a dystopian telling the tell of life after "The Big Shake" (a massive earthquake) it destroyed everything and life went to hell. It destroyed buildings, set off volcanos, killed billions during and after, there's nothing left of the old world. Its set thousands of years after the earthquake and the wor ...more
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Aka William R Dantz, Chris Jordan, W.R. Philbrick.

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. 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. Writing under th
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More about Rodman Philbrick...
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“The only real treasure is in your head. Memories are better than diamonds and nobody can steal them from you” 123 likes
“Bean finds the best apple in our tree and hands it up to me. "You know what this tastes like when you first bite into it?" she asks.
"No, what?"
"Blue sky."
"You're zoomed."
"You ever eat blue sky?"
"No," I admit.
"Try it sometime," she says. "It's apple-flavored.”
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