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Ship Breaker

by Paolo Bacigalupi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ship Breaker (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0582143,371 (3.86)204
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.
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    4leschats: Both stories deal with environmental issues and teen survival
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    Rootless by Chris Howard (wifilibrarian)
    wifilibrarian: Rootless shares several themes and settings with Ship Breaker. Both stories have teen male protagonists with family issues, and both stories are set in future worlds where the environment has collapsed due to human interference. Both include the setting of a future dystopian/post-apocalyptic New Orleans.… (more)
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» See also 204 mentions

English (212)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (214)
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
Teen fiction; disappointing dystopian adventure without very much adventure. Bacigalupi creates a world where the poor compete for backbreaking jobs (salvaging metals from rusted ship wreckages) that provide barely enough to eat, and the rich bathe in luxury upon luxury. It was ok, and though the main character has a near-death adventure in the 2nd chapter or so, the story never really took off, but sort of just languished in this murky puddle of dirty tidepool water. I gave up after the first 80 pages or so, not really caring to see whether the characters managed to dig themselves out of their meager existence or not. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Edit: I had to go back and up my rating to 4 stars. Despite the few misgivings I mention in my review, this story has really stuck with me over the past month and I often find myself thinking of their world. Can't wait to pick up the sequel soon.

Just finished this today. It's going to be such a tough review. This was an intriguing read. As someone who takes interest in environmental issues and the climate change crisis, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

This is a look into a dystopian future where Category 6 hurricanes level entire cities and the poor fight for the right to work in any conditions.

Nailer and his crew are shipbreakers. Laborers from an oil-soaked beach that spend their days stripping abandoned rigs of their scrap metal. It's dangerous work; the kind where someone desperate is always there, waiting to fill your place at whatever cost. Blood oaths are sworn amongst crew to keep each other's backs. But what's blood worth, in a place where people are worth less than the scrap they harvest?

I thought Ship Breaker was set at a great pace, with just the right amount of conflict and brushes with danger along their journey.

Still, it didn't entirely grab ahold of me and captivate me like I was hoping for. Maybe I'm still jaded from The Winternight Trilogy, but Ship Breaker's plot just seemed to miss the mark. I didn't feel as invested in Nita as Nailer immediately was, and she fell a bit flat. I will say that I like it and that it made for a great casual read.

I loved Nailer as a character and the world building in this book was great, but it was like I wanted this world and these characters...doing something else.

I look forward to seeing how Nita continues learning to relate to Nailer.. under less dire circumstances, maybe, in the sequel. ( )
  AshleyHope | Mar 18, 2021 |
Edit: I had to go back and up my rating to 4 stars. Despite the few misgivings I mention in my review, this story has really stuck with me over the past month and I often find myself thinking of their world. Can't wait to pick up the sequel soon.

Just finished this today. It's going to be such a tough review. This was an intriguing read. As someone who takes interest in environmental issues and the climate change crisis, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

This is a look into a dystopian future where Category 6 hurricanes level entire cities and the poor fight for the right to work in any conditions.

Nailer and his crew are shipbreakers. Laborers from an oil-soaked beach that spend their days stripping abandoned rigs of their scrap metal. It's dangerous work; the kind where someone desperate is always there, waiting to fill your place at whatever cost. Blood oaths are sworn amongst crew to keep each other's backs. But what's blood worth, in a place where people are worth less than the scrap they harvest?

I thought Ship Breaker was set at a great pace, with just the right amount of conflict and brushes with danger along their journey.

Still, it didn't entirely grab ahold of me and captivate me like I was hoping for. Maybe I'm still jaded from The Winternight Trilogy, but Ship Breaker's plot just seemed to miss the mark. I didn't feel as invested in Nita as Nailer immediately was, and she fell a bit flat. I will say that I like it and that it made for a great casual read.

I loved Nailer as a character and the world building in this book was great, but it was like I wanted this world and these characters...doing something else.

I look forward to seeing how Nita continues learning to relate to Nailer.. under less dire circumstances, maybe, in the sequel. ( )
  AshleyHope | Mar 18, 2021 |
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I love me a good rags to riches story. ( )
  frfeni | Jan 31, 2021 |
Climate change has taken hold of the world, polar ice caps have melted and poor laborers risk their lives tearing apart beached tankers for spare parts to sell to "swanks." Nailer and his friend/coworker Pima discover a wreaked "swank" ship with one person on board still alive. It could be the salvage of a lifetime but they'd have to kill the girl to get it.

Engaging and suspenseful. It was an entertaining read with some dire predictions of what out planet could become. ( )
  Sarah220 | Jan 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
Bacigalupi is a highly acclaimed adult sci-fi writer, and Ship Breaker won last year's prestigious Printz award for young-adult fiction in the US. It's a taut, disciplined novel, moving with tremendous coiled energy and urgency. I found it a tad colourless in places, but Nailer is a fine hero, complicated and questioning, always wondering whether he's doomed to inherit his father's failings or whether he can make his own destiny.

Which is, of course, the essential question of every dystopia. And basically the essential question of every teenager, too. Why do teenagers like dystopias? Simple. They're looking for proof that there's a way to survive the one in which they're already living.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Caplan, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foster, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swaab, NeilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swanson, JoshuaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Locus ( [2011]Young Adult2011)
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For Arjun
First words
Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.
Quotations
The blood bond was nothing. It was the people that mattered. If they covered your back, and you covered theirs, then maybe that was worth calling family. Everything else was just so much smoke and lies. (p. 274)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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Book description
Even at night, the wrecks glowed with work. The torch lights flickered, bobbing and moving. Sledge noise rang across the water. Comforting sounds of work and activity, the air tanged with the coal reek of smelters and the salt fresh breeze coming off the water. It was beautiful.

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, 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 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, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

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Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being disassembled for parts by a ragtag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father to his hand-to-mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present-day third world.

When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

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