Paperback, 240 pages
Published 2000 by ScholasticIn this dystopian world, books are replaced by mind-probes, unusable by narrator Spaz 15ish, because of the epilepsy he is named for. After the "Big Shake" apocalyptic earthquake fells "backtime" skyscrapers and civilization, Normals survive in the concrete-smog grey Urb by working for "cut your red" killer gang bosses. Sent to rob Ryter, the boy instead gains a mentor, "gummy" old mostly toothless writer, who guides their quest by the sun. Far away, where Spaz was banished for his illness, beloved unrelated younger sister Bean is dying.
This book takes place in an imaginative and disturbing story about a bleak, dangerous future world ("the Urb") and a teenage boy who must make his way through it to reach his ill adoptive sister. The boy is called Spaz, because he has epilepsy. This prevents him from using the drug-like mindprobes that are turning the others in the Urb into zombies. As a result, Spaz still has his memory, unlike the others; and an old man known as Ryter (one of the few people left who still remembers and values books) accompanies him on his quest and teaches him to value it. As they fearfully cross from one gang-ruled territory to another, they are joined first by a small boy and then by a "proov," a girl who lives in Eden, a beautiful land forbidden to the residents of the Urb. She is able to help Spaz's sister.
This book is just fantastic, at the beginning its a little bit slow but at the end is unpredictable.