Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Ship Breaker

by Paolo Bacigalupi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ship Breaker (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1922193,490 (3.86)206
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.
  1. 130
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (theycallmeEJ)
  2. 50
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (theycallmeEJ, clif_hiker)
  3. 40
    Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (theycallmeEJ)
  4. 30
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (theycallmeEJ)
  5. 41
    Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (clif_hiker)
  6. 10
    Enclave by Ann Aguirre (SunnySD)
  7. 10
    Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Rubbah)
  8. 10
    Planesrunner by Ian McDonald (ahstrick)
  9. 00
    Pure by Julianna Baggott (4leschats)
    4leschats: Both stories deal with environmental issues and teen survival
  10. 00
    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)
  11. 00
    A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard (kaledrina)
  12. 22
    The Passage by Justin Cronin (clif_hiker)
  13. 00
    Trash by Andy Mulligan (BookshelfMonstrosity)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 206 mentions

English (216)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (219)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
Shipbreaker ends up as being something of a heart breaker. After an auspicious beginning and a fascinating look at a totally different world of a future and the lifestyle of a particular group of the impoverished shipbreakers and beach dwellers (this is after the depletion of fossil fuels and a catastrophic increase in global warming), the book devolves into the usual poor boy-saves-rich girl adventure plot. The poor boy is shipbreaker Nailer and rich swank Nita on the run from kidnappers sent by her father's rival in the Patel shipping monopoly.

Certainly the most interesting part is the first half. There is an interesting sub-plot about the enslaved half-men clone mutants and their discrimination in society. This sets a theme that won't really be explored until [b:The Drowned Cities|12814594|The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker, #2)|Paolo Bacigalupi|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1333712780s/12814594.jpg|13677912] sequel.

This is a true YA novel so there isn't any four letter words beyond "damn" and no explicit sex. There is plenty of moderately explicit violence. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Ship Breaker No. 1. Little, Brown, 2010.
Paolo Bacigalupi won the 2010 Hugo for his 2009 debut novel, The Windup Girl, but he is best known for his short fiction (some of which has been adapted for the Love, Death, and Robots series) and for his young adult novels. Ship Breaker is billed as a YA novel. It is a coming-of-age story with a 14-year-old protagonist, Nailer, whose small size lets him dive into the oily, water-filled holds of rusting tankers looking for salvageable materials. Ship Breaker also features the environmentalist themes and biopunk themes of The Windup Girl. It is set in an America that has suffered an environmental collapse that has melted the poles and generated frequent city-killer hurricanes. The currency seems to be Chinese. The oil industry has collapsed. Most of the economy is based on scavenging for a huge recycling industry. The very rich travel by high-tech, wind-driven clipper ships that also have some limited flight capabilities in ideal conditions. The plot begins when Nailer and his crew rescue a young woman from a wrecked clipper ship who is on the run from corporate pirates. The story is grittier than most young-adult fiction I have read, and Nailer is a well-nuanced character. The world-building is superb. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Jun 4, 2022 |
I initially gave this 3 stars, but months later I'm increasing it to 4, because it stuck with me, and because it feels like a reasonable prediction of how the future could look if we don't do better. It was seeing like the 3rd or 4th hurricane of the 2020 season tee up for Louisiana that sent me back here to boost that star. The writing itself is OK but the world building is really good. ( )
  wideblacksky | Mar 19, 2022 |
I found the characterizations a bit uneven and the plot was rather predictable. The world building is fantastic in a tragic near-future. Reminded me how much I prefer good science fiction to fantasy. ( )
  mjduigou | Feb 27, 2022 |
The reason this book stands out, at least for me, is the world building. Beautiful. Everything from the great iron ships, to the white sandy beaches to the sunken city of New Orleans. The characters were interesting and the plot moved quickly, but it was the world that gripped me and held me until the end. ( )
  ElizaTilton | Nov 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (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

Belongs to Series

Has as a commentary on the text

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Arjun
First words
Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.
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)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.


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.

Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.86)
0.5 1
1 5
2 31
2.5 10
3 198
3.5 56
4 419
4.5 43
5 167

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 176,599,278 books! | Top bar: Always visible