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Ship Breaker Paperback – October 3, 2011
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Praise for Ship Breaker
A Michael L. Printz Award Winner
"Bacigalupi's future earth is brilliantly imagined and its genesis anchored in contemporary issues...The characters are layered and complex, and their almost unthinkable actions and choices seem totally credible. Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi." --Booklist (starred review)
"Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) makes a stellar YA debut with this futuristic tale of class imbalance on the Gulf Coast...Bacigalupi's cast is ethnically and morally diverse, and the book's message never overshadows the storytelling, action-packed pacing, or intricate world-building." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
* "This thriller will grab and keep readers' attentions as Nailer and Nita 'crew up' in their fight to survive."―The Horn Book, starred review
"Exciting, poetic, and breathtaking."―Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
"A riveting tale of adventure in a broken world."―Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series and Leviathan
"Barely a chapter into this novel, readers may feel as if they're deep inside the black hold of an oil tanker--in a good way."―New York Times Book Review
"A top-notch dystopian thriller, from its claustrophobic opening pages to its race-against-the-waves ending."―Barry Lyga, author of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl and Boy Toy
"Tough, tense, and terrific--a story that keeps you turning pages while you read, and returning to the tale long after you're done."―John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War
"This gripping novel is all about the nature of trust and of family. . . . Nailer and his intense, beautiful world will linger in your mind for a long time."―Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy
About the Author
Paolo Bacigalupi is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed The Drowned Cities and Ship Breaker, a Michael L. Printz Award winner and a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of the Edgar Awards nominee The Doubt Factory; a novel for younger readers, Zombie Baseball Beatdown; and two bestselling adult novels for adults, The Water Knife and The Windup Girl. His first work of collected short fiction was Pump Six and Other Stories. The winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards, he lives in western Colorado with his wife and son. The author invites you to visit his website at windupstories.com.
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Action...and plenty of it. It starts off fierce and never lets go. I sort of felt like that kid in the never ending story pulling the blanket over my head, clicking on my flashlight and looking to find Falcor. It's that good.
The setups. When something is alluded to in the beginning, it comes rearing right back around in the most satisfying way. This book made me realize this is always the thing I'm looking for. I almost want to play a game of hide and seek with my books. You lay some information down and I'll try to put the pieces together. I can keep up, I promise. Paolo Bacigalupi delivered these fun little finds over and over again.
This world. The most fascinating part besides just the scary realness were the hybrid creatures. This leads me to Tool (my favorite character.) He reminded me of The Hound (Sandore Clegane) from Game of Thrones. If this ever gets made into a movie HE MUST BE CAST. So he's this hybrid mix of a dog, tiger, and hyena made into a super predator that's actually a man. I won't go into all the details, but imagine this and then imagine him have redeeming qualities. I just loved him.
Nailer's father was also up there as far as interesting characters. His story-line and how it played out with Nailer in the end was one of the most satisfying things to read in the whole novel.
Also, this story is weaved among the waves in that a lot of it takes part on the open sea and it reminded me of Charlie St. Cloud with all the boat-speak, but in a cool world gone wrong scenario.
Only complaint? The term "pain blossoms" was beautiful the first time and should have been omitted the later five or six times. Too small of a complaint to even affect my enjoyment of this amazing novel.
Nailer is just one of many kids who work the Light Crew on the beach. Light Crew are small kids who can climb into the old rusting hulks of abandoned ships on the beach from a time long gone. They scavenge anything they can, especially copper, from old ships, but hitting the Lucky Strike of an oil pocket is the dream of any scavenge crew. The worst fate is to be thrown from your blood-oath crew for betraying your oath. If you betray your crew, there isn't much hope for you on the beach.
Nailer's mom died long ago and his father waivers between drug-induced hazes and violent abusive rages. His life on Light Crew is the only thing that keeps them fed. His Crew leader, Pima, and her mother are the closest thing to family Nailer has known. When he and Pima discover a shipwreck after a huge "city killer" (hurricane), they decide to scavenge for their own Lucky Strike before anyone else gets there. During their scavenge, however, they find a young girl pinned. If they don't rescue her, she will surely die. Pima wants to kill her and continue the Strike, but Nailer insists on saving the girl they dub Lucky Girl. In doing so, Nailer's very scary father finds them and is determined to sell Lucky Girl to the highest bidder.
Pima and Nailer know they have to get away from Nailer's dad and his psychotic crew, but they underestimate the strength of the crew. During their getaway, they are saved by Pima's mom and a half-man (men genetically engineered with dog/hyena/etc. DNA as "loyal" servants). Tool, the half-man, helps Nailer and Lucky Girl escape to Orleans (part of the old New Orleans and Orleans II) where she can find a ship to save her. The reason she shipwrecked in the first place was because she was outrunning a traitor in her father's company who wanted to use her as leverage for power in his company. Now they don't know which ship and captain can be trusted, but Nailer's dad is hunting them as well. Nailer and Tool must find a way to get Lucky Girl back to her family.
This is an awesome dystopia, with all the bells and whistles. Hard, gruesome work for the majority of they barely-scraping by masses while the leaders live with extravagant pleasures. The disenchanted masses dream of a better life while trudging through the short, painful lives they lead. It makes you love Nailer and Pima and all the others stuck on the beach, but also frustrated with Lucky Girl and her ignorance to their lives. Lucky Girl isn't without redemption, of course. She has a quality that makes people who haven't even met her want to help her. When Nailer sees how many crew members on one of her father's ships would risk their lives to save her, he knows Lucky Girl is a special kind of "swank".
This is a moderately difficult book, in terms of reading level. I would save this story for high skilled junior high through high school. The story is very exciting and interesting. It has some familiar landmarks and cities to keep a student's interest while still exploring a whole new world. The only thing that might be a little confusing is the nicknames and slang the characters use. You get used to the new terms quickly, but when they are first introduced, they can be a little confusing. This is a really great story by a newly acclaimed Sci-Fi author. It is nice when we drag the talented "adult" authors to the YA fun- they never knew what they were missing until they start writing for young adults!