I had forgotten that I bought this book back with Golden and Grey earlier this summer. I picked it up off of my night table last night, and just finished it now. I feel like my old reading self when my 2 year old is at her Nana's!
Rodman Philbrick has written quite the "end of the world as we know it" story.
Imagine a world of extreme class difference. Eden is at the centre, where the "proovs" (or genetically improved) humans live. At least the normals have been told that Eden exists...they can't be sure since it means instant "cancellation" for a normal to try to enter.
Everyone lives in a "latch"...essentially a turf controlled by a latch boss. Spaz, thus named because of his epilepsy, lives under the rule of the Bangers, where Billy Bizmo reigns supreme. Spaz is told to go rip off the Ryter who lives in the stacks at the edge of town. Spaz does as he is told...afterall it's steal or die around here. Little does he know that the Ryter will end up effecting him deeply with his talk about the backtimes.
One night in his crib, a runner comes with a message for Spaz. His foster sister Bean is sick again with the blood sickness. The problem is that Bean lives in a whole other latch...3 latches over. Spaz is sure to be cancelled even trying to leave his own latch. Can Ryter help him find his way?
What follows is a fast paced adventure about priviledge, perfection and hope.
Less intense than Anderson's Feed, and less sophisticated than Westerfeld's Uglies (almost) triology, The Last Book in the Universe seems perfect for the sixth grade and up set. Fast paced and compelling, Philbrick makes the reader stop and consider what s/he might do given extreme circumstances.
Don't look for a happy ending.