Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

There have been a couple of occasions when I read a book after it won an award and found myself feeling a little let down.  I expected too much and didn’t see why the award committee picked that book over all of the others I had loved in the previous year.  That is very definitely NOT the case with Ship Breaker!  I loved every minute of this book and my only complaint was that I didn’t have the time to read it from cover-to-cover in one sitting.  This action-filled adventure has well-developed characters, provides plausible (if frightening) outcomes for current global issues, and leaves readers begging for a sequel.

The world has run out of oil and global warming has melted the polar ice caps; this is certainly not the world as we know it.  Most people live in poverty and take whatever work they can find, no matter how dangerous, just so they can continue to survive.  Nailer has found work with a “light crew,” which means wriggling through the duct work of beached tanker ships along the Gulf Coast to scavenge for scrap metals, like copper wiring and fixtures.  As long as he makes quota, and doesn’t get too big to fit through the ducts, he can stay on the light crew.  Nailer does his best to avoid his alcoholic/druggie father as much as possible, but still begs Sadna (his best friend Pima’s mother) to save his dad as a violent hurricane blows through town.  After the storm, Nailer and Pima cannot find their parents but manage to stumble upon a shipwrecked clipper ship.  The ship has enough scavenge to make them both filthy rich, but there’s one problem — the “swank” girl trapped inside.  Do they kill her to keep their claim on the ship, or do they rescue her and add to their burden?  Anyone who picks up this book is in for one heck of a ride!

Happy Reading!

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