Book: Ship Breaker (Paolo Bacigalupi)
Stand-Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Young Adult
Read the first 30 pages
Description (From Goodreads):
Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.
I don't think this book has gained a lot of attention, which is really a pitty; because this book has it all - high stakes adventure, friendship, a dynamic setting and a little bit of romance. The book begins with a teen boy, Nailer. He is a ship breaker - part of the light crew that strips old oil ships of all their valuables. It's dangerous work and life for Nailer is extremely hard. He has no mother and his father is an abusive drunk. Then, one day the fates smile upon him and he catches a lucky break. A wealthy girl, who he refers to as a swank, presents Nailer with his ticket out. He and the girl, Nita embark on a dangerous trip through the southern gulf coast, to try and reach Nita's family.
I honestly cannot think of any issues I had with this book, I enjoyed it immensely. I was a little cautious going into the book, it is not my typical kind of book. However, the pacing was wonderful; there are plenty of twists and turns. There are an abundance of chase and fight scenes that keep readers on their toes. The characters were also extremely unique and intriguing.
Nailer, for starters, was a very complex character. He struggles through the entire book trying to figure out what the right thing to do is - for him and the people around him. He comes from a society and family, that lives off of the kill or be killed mentality. He has a hard time distancing himself from his abusive father and worries that he will end up like him.
The other main character, Nita was a delightful surprise. In the beginning, Nita is presented as a Swank - a rich girl who thinks only of herself. Nailer rescues her from her sinking ship and you begin to see a different side of her. She proves to be smart, dependent, tough and a great friend to Nailer.
This book was a terrific read for me, I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure!