Ship Breaker

Winner of the 2011 Printz Award | 2010 National Book Award Finalist

Written by Paolo Bacigalupi

A post-apocalyptic, swashbuckling adventure, Ship Breaker begins the story of the young teenager Nailer, who works the “light crew” with a ship scavenging outfit on a beach on the gulf coast. Old oil tanker wrecks wash up on the beach, and Nailer climbs through their tight ductworks, stripping copper wiring for scavenge. In a future world where city-destroying category six hurricanes are a regular occurrence and the coast is lined with drowned cities and treacherous swamps, Nailer lives with his violent, strung-out father in a shack on the beach. When Nailer finds the ultimate scavenge that could bring him great wealth, he must make the tough decision to take the scavenged goods and continue life as usual on the beach, or face the unknown by rescuing a survivor for the risky and questionable possibility of great reward. Adding another complication, the survivor just so happens to be a beautiful and swanky girl.

Bacigalupi has constructed a gritty, violent adventure tale set against the backdrop of a future American gulf coast laid waste by climate change and environmental catastrophe. This book is smart but compulsively, easily readable, and is the first of a series: look for its sequel, The Drowned Cities, to appear later this year. Highly recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, this is another brutal teenage adventure rife with strong ethical dilemmas.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite School District Library Media Program
Rating: 4 Stars
Interest Level: Grades 8+

Ship Breaker
Written by Paolo Bacigalupi
Little, Brown & Company
326 p.
Release Date: May 1, 2010
ISBN: 9780316056212

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15 thoughts on “Ship Breaker”

  1. I have two copies of this book to give away to schools, so two random commenters from secondary schools between now and 4 PM Thursday (2/24/11) will receive these copies for their schools. Good luck!

  2. P.S. Bacigalupi is quite the phenomenon on several fronts of the literary scene. Ship Breaker was his first YA novel, but second overall, and it cleaned up with several awards. But his first novel, the science fiction title The Windup Girl, won both the Hugo AND Nebula Awards last year. It’s on my to-read list; has anyone here read it?

  3. Sounds like an awesome book!!! I think we would get a lot of kids to read it in our library! And I am one of them! :)

  4. Sounds like a book my boys would like. I’m always on look out for good boy books. (Not to say that girls wouldn’t like it. They tend to be less picky).

    1. Rosanne, Congratulations! You are one of our two drawing winners. The book will go out to you through district mail today.

  5. We don’t have it but it is on my list of books to get. May randomness be my mantra on this. I have found that I like dystopian stories quite a bit. I will need to read it. Good job on the blog it looks great. (and not I am not sucking up to become more random either)

  6. This book sounds like it is similar to Scorch Trials by James Dashner and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, both dystopian stories of chaos and violence. Seem to be popular with both Young Adults and adult readers these days. I especially enjoy the conversations with my readers when they return the books. Some have so much to say and others are just scared. All enjoy the read!

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