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Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Ship Breaker (Bacigalupi)

Title: Ship Breaker
Author: Bacigalupi
Genre: Fiction, Dystopian, Survival, Adventure, Science Fiction
Pages: 323
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

In a not-so-distant future America, grounded oil tankers are broken down for parts in the Gulf Coast region.  Nailer, a teenage boy who works for a crew that scavenges for copper wiring, hopes to make his quota and live to see another day.  One day, he discovers a clipper ship that wrecked during a hurricane, and its lone survivor--a beautiful girl (Nita) from a powerful family.  Nailer must make an important decision: strip the ship and kill the girl for "parts" or rescue her and hope she can lead him to a better life. 

Most of you know that I am a fan of dystopian or alternate future books.  Honestly, though, this book originally got lost in my pile of Best Fiction (BFYA) nominees and I did not read it in time to put on my summer reading suggestions.  Let's just say, now I wish I had!  This is a book NOT to be missed.  The world building (setting) immediately pulls you in.  I can close my eyes and picture exactly what Nailer sees when he is climbing through grounded oil tankers looking for copper wire.  It is a bleak existance that he lives, trying to survive with a harsh boss and a drug-addicted, abusive father.

It is not hard to imagine this future America considering all that is going on right now in the Gulf with the BP oil spill.  Perhaps this believability is what draws you into this novel.  More likely, it is the AMAZING writing.  The characters are well-drawn, even the villains.  I feel like I know Nailer and Nita, that I have become part of their world and their lives.  There is so much to think about in this futuristic book, and much for discussion.  The fast-paced action and remarkable characters will keep you turning the pages of this darkly compelling book...that will stay with you long after you read it.

On a side note, this is one of the books that I loaned to the neighbor kids this week for their boating vacation.  I am eagerly awaiting their review...even their mom wanted to read it based on the book summary!  If you would like to be next in line to read it, comment here and I will send it to you when they return it.


Mrs. Yusko said...

Update on my copy of this book and the rounds that it is making. I sent it with the neighbors (9th grade girl, 6th grade boy) on their week long vacation to keep them occupied. Their dad stole it from them and reports that it was GREAT! I'm hoping that the kids will get a chance to read it it!

Anonymous said...

Finally returning Mrs. Yusko's copy of this book. Mom, dad, and me all LOVED it. Thanks for the suggestion!


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