• Book

Ship breaker

by Bacigalupi, Paolo.

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Where To Find It

Call number: Teen Fiction, R Printz Award 2011

Available Copies: Downtown Teen

Additional Details

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

Community Reviews

Perspective pulled me in

Apparently I do judge books by their covers, because when I won this in a random die roll at a science fiction convention, I looked at the jacket and though "Not my kind of book." But why not try it, now that I own a copy?

Y'know, I liked it a lot. It's the story of an earth where the oil reserves are gone and global warming melted the icecaps and raised sea level. But that's just the background. It's about a kid who works on the light scavenging crews. And what's so well done is that we, the readers, know only what this kid would know. We only know of the larger world what this kid understands. So while we get a mention of large multinational corporations, it's only a glimpse. But of need and loyalty and life-or-death decisions, we are fully immersed. It's enough to make me hope that the author will write more about this world from other perspectives, because it's interesting, and his characters have depth, and his character's dilemmas are enough to make me think.

It wasn't a five star book for me because it wasn't deep enough to sink my teeth into as much as I want from a book (ah, I see it's a teen novel. that explains a lot!), but I have to say, this would be a good one to put on your "to read" list.


think movie to

Recommended for fans of Firefly or The Hunger Games

While this book holds a lot of promise - Bacigalupi created a rich, compelling world and there's no shortage of action - ultimately it fell flat for me. The end is much too abrupt and although it's possible a sequel is planned, from this vantage point I don't think there's enough of a narrative arc to justify a second book. I was also disappointed at the lack of character development. Even though the heroes go through quite a lot (one character's father is out to kill him, for Pete's sake) they never evolved past names on a page for me. The characters felt more like stand-ins for the reader rather than real people.

My personal opinion aside, I do believe many teens are going to love this book and I plan to recommend it. Dystopias are always popular and this one is sure to appeal to fans of The Hunger Games or Joss Whedon's Firefly (TV).

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