Written by Rodman Philbrick in 2000, The Last Book in the Universe depicts a very dark world that consists of the remains of the Urb, which was decimated by the Big Shake. Over a billion people had died, and almost all knowledge was lost. This includes procedures for medical recovery, the color blue ("Everyone knows the sky is gray and there's no such thing as grass. It's called dirt, or concrete." said Spaz), as well as items, like books. These were all backtimer things, anyway.

Our protagonist, Spaz, is essentially a thug. He loots, steals, and does everything his latch-boss tells him to. Spaz, (who is called so because he is epileptic) sees a latch runner in his room. A latch runner is some one who is capable of escaping through the latches, or gang-controlled territories, and delivering a message to the intended recipient without dying. They are naturally very highly paid.) The message this runner gives is one of despair: Spaz's sister, Bean, came down with Leukemia. Spaz runs off to save her, along with a man named Ryter (ripped off by Spaz) who thinks he could have one last journey. The only problem is that she's three latches away, and anyone who attempts to cross a latch would be shot on sight.

On the way, he encounters a type of people called proovs. These are people who have been genetically enhanced to be absolutely perfect in every way. They reside in Eden, an area covered with landmines, where the sky is blue and the grass is present. Of course, they think that they're the best thing since sliced bread, and thus they put themselves rather arrogantly above the normals and defects (like Spaz).

However, one proov, named Lanaya, feels that she should help Spaz save his sister, even though this goes against Eden's policy.

But the question remains: Will Bean live or not?

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