The harsh realities and the gruesome details of Ship Breaker's futuristic world demand a fearlessness from the reader and a certain level of intelligence. This is a smart book all about loyalty and survival. Frankly, it tops Kenneth Oppel's Airborn, Collins' Mockingjay, and Dashner's Maze Runner, in my opinion. In YA fiction, some authors shy away from the gritty stuff, but Bacigalupi's adventure keeps your eyes wide in terror, flipping pages.
Nailer is like most young teens his age in the gulf coast area. This book takes place in the future, and New Orleans and Mississippi are ravaged by frequent hurricanes. Poor, skinny families and their kids of different mixed races serve as ship breakers who go onto crashed, beached, and sunken oil ships, stripping them of metals and parts for abusive business men. It's a terrible life. But everything changes when a luxery liner crashes near the coast, and the sole survivor is a very rich daughter of a mogul from up North. What will Nailer do with her, and how will it change his life forever?
Violent and oppressive and yet full of hope, this book had me cheering for the characters. I wanted Nailer to face off with his father and save the day. I wanted justice and freedom and I want this to be a movie... badly. I'd love to see this world of war, oil, capitalism, and weather catastrophe on the big screen by some big director like James Cameron or Michael Bay. I can't recommend it more.
Recommended by Matthew Lowder