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.
Ok, so it isn’t clear in the description but if you read in between the lines of being plugged into the ‘brain-drain entertainment systems’ (Or 3 screen families in Farenheit, or just TV to you and me) you understand that no one reads and books don’t really exist in their world. Written from the perspective of Spaz, he meets a older, wiser gentleman called Ryter who is *ahem* writing ‘the last book.’ Ok, so the names aren’t the greatest. However, it is written from a younger perspective and also intended for a younger audience who might find the puns clever. However, let me sidetrack for a moment here and advocate for YA books- some of my favorite books are YA. I will admit that I was a little skeptical when I first got this book, though I was unsure if it was going to be as good as my friends made it out be- yes *shocked face* I judged a book by the cover. However, this, like many, many other books have proven that the cover is not everything. There are some really insightful, deep and thoughtful topics that can be addressed to quench an intellectual thirst but done from a different perspective, sometimes. It is refreshing, cleaner, and I do appreciate that as a reader you can address these things without using graphic, vulgar or profane words. Just my two cents. Hop on over to Bookbound and read Who should read YA? for a more clever advocate on the topic.
Moving along… so Spaz goes on a quest to save his dying sister and has to face numerous challenges and threats along the way. However, he makes some friends and learns some lessons, too. He learns how being different has allowed him to be the best person for the job and he learns to accept himself and his differences. He opens up and learns how to stand up for himself, those he cares about, and for what is right. He is young, and he does make mistakes and has flaws but as the reader, you come to love Spaz, too for his heart and his spirit. You’ll be rooting for him, too. The moral of the story is very much like Farenheit 451 in honoring how stories were originally told- through storytellers and storytelling. As long as there is someone to tell the story, ‘books’ will never really die.
Has anyone else read this one? Or do you have any other good Adult/YA pairings?
3.5 out of 5 stars