The Last Book in the Universe…or Farenheit 451 from a younger perspective.

So, I swear I did not do this on purpose, but I read The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick right after I read Farenheit 451.  It’s like Farenheit 451‘s mini-me!

The_Last_Book_in_the_Universe_-_Book_CoverAccording to Goodreads:

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

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When the second is better than the first…

How often does it happen when the second anything is better than the first?  In my experience, not often and it makes it that much sweeter when the first one was good.  Then the second one is even better.  Such was the case with me and The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey.

Infinite Sea

The Infinite Sea, if you are not familiar with it, it is the second book to The 5th Wave.  The 5th Wave is not a book that I would normally have picked up on my own.  Aliens and zombies kind of put me off a little.  However, I read this for a book club last year and I’m so glad that I did.  The 5th Wave refers to 5th form of attack from the aliens toward the humans.  The first when all forms of power are cut off, then a tsunami, plague and the silencers.  The story follows Cassie who, survives the waves, is separated from her little brother and is determined to find him again.  I won’t go into too much detail here.  Hop on over to Twenty-First Century Fangirl’s page for an awesome review of The 5th Wave

Here’s what Goodreads has to say about The Infinite Sea:

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Infinite Sea picks up where The 5th Wave is left off.  I’ll warn you there is a cliffhanger at the end of the first book.  It’s a big one, and they kind of leave you hanging there for a few chapters.  Going into the second book you’re dying to know – or at least I was – what happened to Evan?  As with any post-apocalyptic story, there are deaths and yes, there are sad moments.  But in general this book does not disappoint.  I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire time.

I ended up listening to this one instead of reading a physical copy of the book so I was a little confused when the story picks up with Ringer and carries on with her quite a bit throughout the book.  I was not a big fan of her character in The 5th Wave, but you really get to know her and her story so much more in depth and she kind of grew on me.  Although I do like how both Cassie and Ringer are strong female characters… but if you survive the first four waves, I guess you kind of have to be.

In addition to Ringer, you learn more about the Others, about Evan’s background (oops did I spoil something?) and see Cassie and her group band together.  This book kept me guessing and there were a few predictable moments, but overall kept me guessing, which I like.  I like a book that keeps me guessing and makes me think – this one definitely did that more so than the first one – which for me, is why I liked it so much more than the first (as good as it was).  I don’t want to give too much away because you should definitely add this to your list!  I’m so excited for the third book, The Last Star.  Don’t you hate waiting a whole year to finish the series?  Ugh.

4.5 out of 5 stars.