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Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Ship Breaker #1
Release Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Goodreads Stars: 4
Rating: Essential


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. – Goodreads

Ship Breaker is a book that I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time. I bought it either at the beginning of this year or the end of last, and I have only just found the time and motivation to read it. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I don’t even know what I was expecting, but this was definitely not it.

The opening of this book gripped me. Nailer’s getting copper out of a ship, when he nearly dies, only to be saved by a Lucky Strike. Then there’s a huge storm which almost kills him – and does actually kill some of his friends – and everything is just AMAZING. I love it when the characters’ lives are at risk!

Nailer and his crew were THE BEST. Crew is closer than blood. I may have cried or almost cried at a few points because I just can’t take it when people look out for each other. It makes me very emotional! And in this instance, where without your crew you’re as good as dead, looking out for one another was especially important.

I wanted to mention that this book had a wide range of characters, and lots of them were POCs. There was no whitewashing here, and Nailer, the main character, was also dark skinned. I want to hug the author for this, because there needs to be a wider range of POC characters in YA.

Nailer’s dad was an ARSE. And I kinda loved it. Abusive parents is a subject rarely touched upon in YA, but when it is I really enjoy reading about it. Not because I’m some sort of evil witch, but because I enjoy seeing what effects it has on the characters involved, their relationship, and the characters around them. And then I love it when the abusive parent is cut off, maimed or hit by a truck.

I feel a bit meh about the romance, but at least there was build up and it wasn’t rushed at all. In fact, the two hated each other a little bit in the beginning and I cheered them on. I love love/hate or hate/love relationships!  And they didn’t actually do much else other than declare their feelings – at least, one side did, I don’t think the other said anything – which was EXCELLENT. Because that meant that the focus was on the plot and not on a romantic subplot. A+!

I can’t wait to read the companion, The Drowned Cities, which is already out. I don’t know if Nailer makes an appearance in that, but I’m hoping for a cameo. If you’ve read it, then please don’t tell me if he turns up or not! I’m hoping to find out more about the half-men in the next book, because they’re what really interested me.

I would compare Ship Breaker to The Knife of Never Letting Go and Blood Red Road. I think if you enjoyed those two books then you’ll like this, even though it doesn’t have the unique writing style that those two books do!

4 comments on “Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

  1. Little Miss Becky December 29, 2012 9:07 am

    THis looks interesting, and while it’s not something I would normally pick up, your review makes me want to! I’m often brought to tears more often by strong “friend” moments more than romantic stuff, so a crew who watches each other’s backs sounds great! And isn’t it funny how you see not so many abusive parents in YA, but tons of YA with parents who are almost completely absent!

    Great review!

  2. Dea S. December 29, 2012 10:36 am

    “I love it when the characters’ lives are at risk!” Talk about suspense! I think I’m going to enjoy this book a lot. Comparing it to The Knife of Never Letting Go totally sold me. Great review!

  3. Annette December 29, 2012 2:29 pm

    I loved this one two. I haven’t managed to read The Drowned Cities yet, but it’s on my list! Great review!

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