Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker

Book Club Kit - 2011
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This thrilling bestseller and National Book Award Finalist is a gritty, high-stakes adventure of a teenage boy faced with conflicting loyalties, set in a dark future America devastated by the forces of climate change.

In America's flooded Gulf Coast region, oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. 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, Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a fast-paced adventure set in the vivid and raw, uncertain future of his companion novels The Drowned Cities and Tool of War .

"Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA map with The Hunger Games ...but Bacigalupi is one of the genre's masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally imaginative story lines." -- Los Angeles Times

A New York Times Bestseller
A Michael L. Printz Award Winner
A National Book Award Finalist
A VOYA 2010 Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers Book
A Rolling Stone 40 Best YA Novels Book
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2011.
Edition: First pbk. edition
ISBN: 9780316056199
Branch Call Number: BOOK CLUB SHIP BRE
Characteristics: 12 books (326 pages), 1 discussion guide, 1 bag.


From Library Staff

List - YA Dystopias Novels
LPL_TeenZone Apr 13, 2019

This thrilling bestseller and National Book Award Finalist is a gritty, high-stakes adventure of a teenage boy faced with conflicting loyalties, set in a dark future America devastated by the forces of climate change.

In America's flooded Gulf Coast region, oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer... Read More »

January 2018 - a YA dystopia

Nailer scraps copper to survive and when he discovers a clipper ship he is forced to choose between the copper and saving the life of the only survivor, a beautiful young girl.

From the critics

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Jan 18, 2020

For teens, not kids

Jun 19, 2018

I really enjoyed this book! Set in a world where water levels have risen considerably boats are the main way of transportation. Old ships are scavenged and parts are sold. Baciqalupi writes a lot of science fiction stories relating to the ramifications of human's effect on the earth and environment.

KevinELPL Dec 27, 2017

In the near future, human civilization has nearly been destroyed by climate change. Pockets of warring tribes fight over the scraps of our old, rusty past. Although the world (and Bacigalupi's forecast of our future) is a bleak place, the characters are compelling and varied. The author repeatedly points out the disastrous consequences of our oil-driven lives, yet manages to tell a story that is not without hope. Highly recommended for teens and adults.

Aug 17, 2017

i really really wanted to like this because it had such an interesting universe and vivid descriptions but i couldn't get past the cheesy dialogue and lack of logical emotion from the characters... sorry

SCL_Justin Jul 18, 2017

Paolo Bacigalupi’s YA novel Ship Breaker is all sorts of awesome. Nailer is a kid who works on a light crew stripping salvage from the long-abandoned oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. He and everyone he knows lives out on the beach at the whims of the corporations who’ll buy salvage and the many layers of power between them. Nailer and his best friend make an extremely lucky find but instead of just collecting on it, Nailer does something stupid and saves a rich girl’s life.

The world of Ship Breaker is rusty and painful. Nailer’s dad is terribly abusive, and in that off-balancing way I recognize from real people’s stories, not just fiction. But Nailer saves him from a city-wrecking storm, because he’s family. It’s a post-oil world seen from the point of view of people who have no real say in the forces that shape their lives, except for how they can adapt themselves. The book is filled with cool ideas, culturally mashed-up names and diamond-hulled sailing ships. It’s great, and it doesn’t end on a terrible cliffhanger for a trilogy. Highly recommended.

Jan 27, 2014

This book was spellbinding. Great for young adults.

Dec 06, 2013

This is one of the most dystopiest dystopias I've read! his future of our world is caused by our use of fossil fuels and ignoring global warming. It's not really preachy about it - in fact it sounds eerily accurate to what we are experiencing now and the trajectory that Paolo paints our future heading feels unnervingly likely. The characters are just as fantastic as the world building. First off, there is fantastic diversity. It feels like an accurate representation of what our current racial ratios are like. There's also people with different virtues and flaws, and a wide array of moral compasses - no one character is alike. Definitely the most thought provoking read I've had all year. I really don't have anything bad to say about this book. Oh yeah, and even though it's a series, you could read this book and never know! I mean I'm definitely going to check out the sequel, but there's no cliff hanger so you don't need to feel compelled to. Yay!

Nov 20, 2012

This is an incredibly powerful dystopian novel that will appeal to adults as well as teens. It is set in a future North America (maybe 100 years in the future?) where oil supplies have been exhausted and global warming has wreaked incredible damage, leaving in its wake many drowned coastal cities. The main character is a teenage boy (with an abusive father) who scrapes out a living in the now-tropical Gulf Coast region by stripping copper wiring and other materials from old ship wrecks. Then he comes across a new ship wreck with a rich girl on it, setting into motion many choices and events. A page-turner that makes you think and really sticks with you after reading the final pages.

Nov 09, 2012

I loved this book. And it's really awesome because it can be a guy or girl book. Definitely action packed

BPLNextBestTeens Sep 27, 2012

In the near future climate change results in the flooding of the eastern coast of the United States and the result is a disintegration of government and the United States is ruled by violent clans. Nailer, a young teenager, works with a clan who scavenge the abandoned ships for its cooper wire. After a storm he finds a damaged clipper ship and rescues a wealthy girl who was onboard. This decision has repercussions for his clan. A great read lots of action and strong character development.
This dystopian novel was the 2011 YALSA Printz award winner.

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OliviaSh Sep 05, 2011

OliviaSh thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 19, 2011

Scribbly thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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LibraryK8 Dec 07, 2010

Nailer has worked, as long as he can remember, as a ship breaker on Bright Sands Beach on the Gulf Coast. As part of a light crew, he crawls into the smallest crevices and duct work of old oil tankers to rip out wiring and screws to sell for scrap. He knows that this way of life is coming to an end, soon he will be too big to squeeze through the small spaces and he will have to try to get a job on a heavy crew, ripping the ships apart piece by piece. It is back-breaking work, and there is no way out of this life. Nailer knows he will die on this beach.

Until he and a friend happen upon a wrecked yacht, caught on the submerged ruins of sky scrapers, drowned after global warming melted the polar ice caps. On board the yacht is more scavenge than Nailer has ever seen and he knows this is his chance out of Bright Sands Beach and a life as a ship breaker. If he plays his cards right he could be rich! The crew of the yacht is dead, drowned in the ship-killer storm that came through the day before. But one passage is left alive, a rich girl with enough gold on her fingers alone to feed Nailer's crew for the rest of their lives. But instead of killer the girl and taking the scavenge for himself, Nailer saves her life in the hopes that she will take him with her when she leaves Bright Sands Beach. But the girl's fate is more complicated than Nailer planned when he discovers that she is the heir to a fortune and her family owns the largest transport company in the world, currently undergoing a mutiny. Many people would like to get their hands on the girl, and Nailer has to help deliver her to her family.


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