Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Copyright date: 2010
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Format: Audiobook, Read by Joshua Swanson
Pages: 326 / Audio version: 9 hours
Reason for reading: My curiosity about the Printz Award and the recommendation of a fellow blogger.
Award Won: Michael J. Printz Award, 2011
Summary (from the publisher):
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. . . .
Although science fiction and dystopian literature are way down on my list, I could not stop reading Ship Breaker. The story was so compelling and action-packed, it would not let me go until the very end.
The world of Ship Breaker isn’t a nice place. It’s set in a post-apocolyptic world that I hope never happens. However, the story was so believable. I could see that if our current environmental practices continue, the result will look like the world Paolo Bacigalupi created.
There was also a great division between rich and poor. The characters featured in Ship Breaker live such a hard-scrabble life they are desperate on a daily basis. I would not want to have to look at a person and decide whether I might capture him/her and sell him/her for body parts. On the other hand, I found the characters in this book extremely self-sufficient and really quite clever – all that in spite of their severe poverty.
Ship Breaker would make an excellent novel for a discussion group. There are several themes that bear talking out: the definition of a family, friendship, environmental issues, political issues, or the disparity between rich and poor. It’s geared toward young people from 12 to 18, an age in which many have opinions about these issues.
Discussion or not, this is a very good adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
For an excellent review of this book visit my friend Jill at Rhapsody In Books. She is the one who recommended the book to me.
Paolo Bacigalupi is a rising star in the science fiction community. The author of Pump Six and Other Stories and The Windup Girl, he is both a Nebula and Hugo Award nominee, and the winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best science fiction short story and two Locus Awards for best collection and best novelette. Paolo lives in western Colorado with his wife and son. Ship Breaker is his first novel for young adults.
The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association. It has been an annual award since 2000.