Ship Breaker Review

This poor post has been sitting in drafts for almost a month now. I think it is time to set it free! This book has been in my library for almost a year now and I had a chance to read the YA debut by author Paolo Bacigalupi. Coworkers raved about Ship Breaker, it was a 2010 National Book Award Finalist, and the 2011 Printz Award winner. All the accolades are well deserved.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, May 2010

Oil supplies have dried up, leaving oil rigs ship wrecked and useless, expect for the wires and materials they hold inside. Nailer is a small but wiry teen on a ship breaking light crew. His scavenging work is grueling and dangerous, but the alternatives are worse. The bleak reality of his life does not stop Nailer from dreaming of better things, namely the gorgeous clipper ships he watches gracefully navigating the ocean. After surviving an accident at work Nailer gets the nickname Lucky Boy. His luck holds strong when he discovers a shipwrecked clipper, ripe for the picking. When a beautiful girl is discovered to be the sole survivor aboard Nailer has a difficult decision to make: spare the girl and complicate his life, or strip the ship and end his days as a scavenger.

Bacigalupi has created a complex and terrifying world without fossil fuels. Hurricanes have destroyed low-lying areas such as New Orleans, leaving skyscrapers submerged underwater. Talk about distressinglyrealistic! In this grim future the new attitude is every person for themselves, causing almost all the characters to be unlikeable-no one is nice. Even the hero of the story is damaged and flawed and only reluctantly accepts the role of hero. The action in this book is non-stop, often breathtaking, always nerve-wracking, and the tension is palpable from start to finish. I could not put this book down and I am desperate for more. There will be a companion book, called Drowned Cities, that takes place in the same world as Ship Breakers, but the only character to make a reappearance will be Tool, the half-man. Look for the second book sometime this year. Sorry, I don’ t have a publication date yet, but I am watching for one!

This book should be a must-read for fans of the The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien, and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

After almost a year I finally saw a copy on the shelves (the holds list was so long at one point that I ordered more copies). I recommend snatching it up while you can!

Happy Reading!


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