Ship Breaker

Paperback | October 3, 2011

byPaolo Bacigalupi

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A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.

In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....

In this powerful novel, Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

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From the Publisher

A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see anoth...

Paolo Bacigalupi is the author ofThe Windup GirlandPump Six and Other Stories, and a Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award winner. He lives in western Colorado with his wife and son.Ship Breaker, a Michael L. Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist, is his first...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:October 3, 2011Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316056197

ISBN - 13:9780316056199

Appropriate for ages: 15


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great summer read! A prime sample from a growing genre, Ship Breaker provides a chilling view of a not-so-distant future with an exciting adventure layered on top. I fully recommend it.
Date published: 2013-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Alirght Entertaining enough to finish, and I will probably read book two if I can find it on sale. Not enough meat to make you run out and buy the next one.
Date published: 2012-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Over-hyped This book was so disappointing. I loved the world the story was set in. The down right gross and nasty surroundings that was Bright Sands Beach to the contaminated Orleans. But to an average person like me, I was often confused with the many ship vocabularies. I would have much preferred a glossary at the back or a couple of diagrams, illustrating the many different ships described in the book. The main character, Nailer seemed very one dimensional. What I guess was suppose to be mental toughness and young naivety annoyed me. He ignored many advices given to him and fell blindly for a girl. Damn boy. I sure won't fall for a boy as blind as you. It's one thing to be so passionate about love and loyalty and it's another to give up everything you've ever worked for for a girl you've met two days ago. Romeo and Juliet in a dystopian world? Er...unfortunately yes. it is because of the lack of personality Nailer had, the climax of the book could have been any random chapter in the book. I felt much of the first 100 pages were even more exciting than the final few chapters. But the reason I am giving this book 3 stars is because of the secondary characters like Pima, Sadna and Tool. All three of them were very unique and wise. They displayed great variety in a story that would have dried right up if Nailer was working alone. So I am not sure if I want to read the second book; The Drowned City. We'll see.
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I loved this! It took me a long time to start it since the premise just sounds weird, I'm sure it's a metaphor for something but I don't watch the news, it's depressing....I prefer the fictional depressing stories instead. It's written from the mind of a very dark, poor, boy, but Bacigalupi (try and pronounce that) manages to make the reader understand every action that the characters make. I can't believe no highschool is forcing their students to read this, and I came from a cool school, we read the hunger games and ender's game. It totally fits the interesting but teaches life lessons theme. Anyways, read this book dystopian lovers, you will not regret it. Just don't tell anyone what your book is about, they give you awkward looks for the next week.
Date published: 2012-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought provoking Life has not shown a kind hand to Nailer. As a teenage boy, he is lucky to be of slight build as that means he can still work the light salvage crew. Every day he crawls through the small air ducts and passages on grounded oil tankers removing any wiring he can get his hands on. It's a physically demanding job and the only people he can rely on are his crew. Nailer has to make a choice when he discovers a wrecked clipper ship loaded with a kings wealth of salvage. All of it could be his, if only he kills the lone survivor. This book, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, was chosen as the February read for my local bookclub. We are a group of women who enjoy science fiction. This selection was a bit of a stretch for some of the members. Foremost, few of them are readers of YA fiction. They wanted more back ground information about how the world came to be the way it is and a wider world view of how it functions now. These aren't things that concern teen readers that I know. They seem to be content to accept the world as the author presents it; they want to get on with the plot. We were all interested in the chasm between the extremely elite life of 'the survivor' and the day to day existence of Nailer and his crew. Was it really possible that 'the survivor' could know so little of the real world that provides the raw resources for her business and lifestyle. We all agreed that we wanted to know more about the half-man Tool and his kind. How did they come into existence and why are they so loyal to their master.Several of us stated that we'd be looking forward to the companion book The Drowned Cities, due out spring 2012, which further explores these questions. One of the members told us that at her daughter's school, this book is very popular with middle teen boys. Nailer is a good role model for teen boys, he has to make some difficult decisions and can't rely on his experiences with his brutal father for guidance. He has to consider what he has learned from the various people who surround him, take the best and forge his own morals.
Date published: 2012-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! At first I liked this book. Then, after it swirled around in my head a couple days I realized I really liked it. I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed it actually. Nailer's a ship breaker. He crawls into these monstrous abandoned ships to scavenge copper and other valuable metals to make quota and maybe survive another day in this gritty future. Everyone, him included, hopes for a 'lucky strike', maybe an oil discovery on a ship that would buy them their freedom from the dangerous work. The beginning of the book was a little slow, and I wondered for a bit when something was going to happen but it all leads the way further into the story. When a giant storm, dubbed a 'city killer' hits their beach, Nailer and Pima, his crew member, discover a beached clipper ship. It's laden with enough silver and gold to set them for life. Their lucky strike. Or is it? The lone survivor is Nita, a swank, a rich girl. Pima wants to kill her and take the valuables, but the thought makes Nailer sick. So they save her and dub her one of their crew in hopes she won't betray them. Their lives are now wound together. Nailer was surprisingly wise considering his age and rough life. His father was a violent drunk who sometimes took his anger out on him, but it didn't drive Nailer to harden himself. If anything it served to show him that even blood doesn't make someone family, that sometimes it's the people with no biological connection that care the most, a message that's clearly illustrated throughout the book between multiple characters. I also really liked Nita. Even though she's a swank, she's a surprisingly strong one. She doesn't complain about the situation she's in or whine, pretty much dives in and keeps her head up high. She and Nailer are clear contrasts and they both have these misconceptions about each others lives, and it was interesting reading how they got to know about each other and their different backgrounds didn't stand in the way. Appearances aren't everything nor do they define you. So not only were the characters great, the world in which they live is amazing too. Or rather, some sort of horrible. It's rusted, it's dark and gritty, weather ravaged. The wording gives you the incredible imagery of the landscape, from the claustrophobic interiors of ship breaking, the submerged leftovers of New Orleans and the dark underbelly of the nightlife in the shipyards. Amidst all the action it's like you're right there with Nailer, feeling the wind as a ship speeds over the ocean or a racing heartbeat as he's being chased. The last few chapters alone are so thrilling, I remember sitting on the subway, getting angry at having reached my station because to stop reading was like stopping at the top of a roller coaster! It was fantastic. Some of the wording, especially in the beginning, was a little confusing as you tried to meld into Nailer's world but it doesn't take away from the story, and it gets easier to understand the further you read. I also wished there was more backstory into how the world came to be ravaged. It has to do with oil, but it's like this dark mysterious cloud that hangs over everything and you're not sure how it got there. This story is descriptive, gritty and action packed. On top of that it's filled with strong characters who stand up for what they believe and amidst the terrible surroundings are somehow still able to hold this hope that things can be better, that sometimes it's not about doing what's easiest, but doing what's right. This story really grew on me, it gets better the more I think about it. Recommended for sure. Review also here:
Date published: 2011-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Science Fiction I love Robert J Sawyer, and when I saw his blurb on the back of this ARC, I got excited. Those expectations aside: SHIP BREAKER is well-crafted. It's gritty. It's dystopian. Definitely violent, but it doesn't go into gory details. If someone has read HUNGER GAMES, they can handle SHIP BREAKER. I connected instantly with Nailer. I knew who he was, what he was about, and what he wanted within the first chapter. I love that Nailer's dad was the antagonist. I don't want to live in their world, but I appreciate the ease at which the author puts us in it. The book reads like it was effortless to write, and I was hooked from page one. I want to see more from this author.
Date published: 2010-04-20

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Editorial Reviews

* "This thriller will grab and keep readers' attentions as Nailer and Nita 'crew up' in their fight to survive."-The Horn Book, starred review