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Ship Breaker

(Ship Breaker #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  40,296 ratings  ·  4,487 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Kiana I completely agree with you. I was forced to read this novel for an English Assignment, and getting through the book seemed to be a task and a half. B…moreI completely agree with you. I was forced to read this novel for an English Assignment, and getting through the book seemed to be a task and a half. But in my opinion, the second half of the book gets better. The first part kind of acts as a world builder, setting up for the climax of the next part. There are a few suspenseful parts included in the second section, so stick in there. It will get better.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of dystopian YA fiction
As seen on The Readventurer

So, a reread after a dystopia-overstaffed year, and Ship Breaker still stands out. Actually, this novel has by far the best conceived vision of our future in terms of realism. Nothing much far-fetched or impossible here.

This future is grim and rusty. The planet's natural resources are exhausted, the global warming is happening, Antarctica is gone, cities drowned. Nailer, the main character, makes his living stripping old ships off of their metals which will be then so
Maggie Stiefvater
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ten Reasons to Read SHIP BREAKER.

1. The packaging is fantastic. I know this is shallow of me, but the rusty, oily cover effects on the hardcover? Completely won me over. And after reading the book? Loved it even more. The only way it could’ve matched the mood of the book any better was if there had been some gross water damage on the pages. Also, I thought I understood the title when I began, and then I thought it stopped being relevant, and then suddenly it was much more relevant than it was t
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
this book is fine.

it had a good amount of violence and intrigue, it had a well-developed sense of atmosphere, i liked the beginning 1/3 of it very much, but then... i don't know. i'm not sure whether my mediocre response is justified or if i had just read too many books right before this that i enjoyed a whole bunch more. this one just kind of beigely occurred. it just felt like something i would put on the tv while i fold the laundry - the book equivalent of NCIS or without a trace.

i do think
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I’m gonna heap a Whole Lotta Love on this story, just because it deserves it. It was fun, gripping, violent, tense, bleak and there was even a little sweetness at its core.

Now that I’ve quit my job, I thought my nightmares about work would be over. As soon as I started reading this story, I had a dream I was salvaging copper wire from grounded ships. My boss reprimanded me because I was not making quota and also because I was rapidly gaining weight, which made it difficu
Dan Schwent
In a dystopian future wracked with environmental disaster, a young salvager named Nailer's world is turned upside down when he stumbles upon the find of a lifetime, a magnificent clipper ship, and and its beautiful owner, a rich girl named Nita...

Paolo Baciglupi crafted quite a tale in Ship Breaker. You've got familial conflict, ecological disaster, young love, dystopia, what's not to like?

Not a lot, frankly. The world Bacigalupi has created is quite something. The cultures are very believable,
Maggie Boehme
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this in early summer looking forward to seeing it live up to all the awesome reviews I read. I was totally disappointed.

To sum things up, I think it shouldn't have been published. Yet. He has a great world and a great story -- the whole idea of ship breakers is AMAZING and his world building is solid -- but three things really bugged me the whole time I was reading:

1. His actual writing. (I thought) he needs editing, big time. His sentences didn't flow for me and he re-used the same words
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of dystopic, well written YA
I’m slightly ambivalent about Bacigalupi’s writing, but Ship Breaker has strengthened my affection. His short stories are hard for me, as in hard-edged, hard-hitting, hard-healing. I liked The Wind-Up Girl, mostly, though I was troubled by the lack of feminism and the bleakness of the dystopia. Young adult might be the area where Bacigalupi and I best intersect; Ship Breaker is full of his evocative prose, great world-building, and is generally more hopeful, more identifiable, and more empowerin ...more
David Schaafsma
So what happens to old ships when they die? And what will happen to the thousands of ships as the oil runs out and we return to sailing clippers, as the cities drown and the poor scramble for their small share of the diminishing resources? Ship Breaker is a YA dystopian novel about a time in the not too distant future when the coasts are significantly diminished, when the oil is gone, when category 6 hurricanes—city killers—have finally destroyed key coastal cities like New Orleans. The rich—the ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this earlier this year and really, really dug it. Very tight and well-written. Gritty without being bleak, and sometimes dark without being depressing. Good stuff.
The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In the speculative future proposed by this book, children will be highly valued...because they are small enough to crawl into the pitch black recesses of abandoned ships and retrieve copper wire.
Yay for children! Somewhere, Newt Gingrich will be beaming.

Meet a generation of Lost Boys and Girls. They don't wanna grow up because getting bigger means they can no longer squeeze into those narrow passageways.
Emily May

A good read but not, I eventually realised, for me.

The story is about a boy called Nailer who works hard gathering copper wiring from old oil tankers in order to make quota and keep his pitiful job. The setting? A bleak and miserable future 100 years from now. One day he finds something on board a wrecked clipper ship that is destined to change his life forever in ways he could never have imagined... sounds suitably ominous and intriguing.

But, ah, there was a bit too much oil and ships and copp
4.o to 4.5 stars. While his catalog is not yet extensive, I have yet to read a novel or short story by Paolo Bacigalupi with which I have not been impressed. He is a terrific writer and his first novel, The Windup Girl, is on my list of "All Time Favorite" novels.

This is another great book with sharp, well written dialogue, a fast-paced story and an interesting main character. As a YA book it is a home run. The only reason is does not get the full 5 stars from me is that, as a YA novel, the det
This book is a really good example of why I almost always find YA literature unsatisfying: I am, sadly, no longer a YA (though my A status might be called into question from time to time).

See, I just finished this book called The Windup Girl, which is about a post-oil society in which man's unchecked manipulation of the environment - from drilling into the ground to extract oil to drilling into the very DNA (see what I did there?) of plants, animals and even people to create "better" (more profi
Please tell me this is the first in a series! I really liked this and I hope to read more about Nailer, Pima and Nita and the world they live in.

I live along the Gulf Coast and this world captured my imagination. The story is set on the oil slicked Gulf Coast in a world where everything has fallen apart and the cities of today are now under water. Nailer and Pima work the "light crew", stripping valuable copper and aluminum from the hulking wrecks of old freighters and oil tankers. The crews tha
Let me point out upfront that Ship Breaker is an award winner of the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award and a National Book Award Finalist. So, don’t let my three stars fool you. I’m not arguing the fact that this gritty, post apocalyptic, dystopic novel hasn’t earned its spot among the widely acclaimed books in its class. It just wasn’t a story that captivated or enthralled me the way The Hunger Games, Divergent, or even Blood Red Road did.

First off, I didn’t know what to expect from this book going

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.

Was it go
In Michael Springer's review of Ship Breaker, he uses a narrative account of his experience working at Rally's Hamburgers as a parallel to the type of work the book's characters are engaged in, and follows this lengthy digression with a political rant that goes on in one seemingly endless sentence for several hundred words. The actual time invested in discussing characters or events from the book come in a brief paragraph at the end, almost as an afterthought to the rants that have come before. ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a quick but fascinating read set in a compelling futuristic world where climate change has plunged most of the world's coastal cities into the ocean and the majority of humans live in extreme poverty (with a lucky few living the "swank" life). The main character, Nailer, is a starving, scarred, and hardened young man eking out a living as a ship breaker. Due to malnutrition, he's still small enough to fit inside the tight claustrophobic wreckages of oil tankers where he scavenges for cop ...more
Morgan F
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Morgan by: Hank Green
Ship Breaker takes places in a gritty, grim future, where the divide between the rich and the poor is deeper than ever. The poor grow up like Nailer, a youth who lives in a little shack on a beach off the Gulf Coast with his abusive, drugged-up father. Like everyone else on the beach, Nailer must work hard to survive, stripping washed-up oil rigs for the raw materials, but even hard work is not enough to guarantee survival in his dog-eat-dog world. Nailer can rely on hardly anyone, besides his c ...more
Paolo Bacigalupi is destined to be one of the Grand Old Masters of science fiction in another couple of decades. His books are uniformly excellent and capture perfectly the aesthetic of modern SF. His pet theme is environmental and economic catastrophe creating an impoverished, post-oil world. Ship Breaker reads very much like a YA version of his Hugo and Nebula-winning The Windup Girl. Although it's never explicitly stated that Ship Breaker takes place in the same world, it is similar enough th ...more
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
More like 3.5 stars.

Okay, I know. I'm a guy. I'm supposed to like science fiction books about violence, nonstop action, piracy, you name it. Right?

Wrong. I liked this book for entirely different reasons.

The world building amazed me. This book's initial setting is in a trashy town on America's Gulf Coast, a region I know practically nothing about. It turns out I didn't need to know anything, as this story takes place in the future - with the Gulf Coast wrecked and parts set aside for ship-breakin
Skylar Phelps
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first by Bacigalupi.

For the most part, the prose and general writing was the best part of the experience. Obviously the author is highly praised and heavily awarded, so my expectations were fairly high and I thought he delivered a quality product.

The setting is quite bleak and the story itself is pretty simple. There is lots of character driven conflict with alternating high and low points giving the reader an emotional ride. Much of the content reminded me of the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Pat
Sonja Arlow
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian, 2016-read
2 1/2 stars

100 years into the future and the world has been ravaged by climate change, flooding some parts and making deserts out of others. The story takes place in an informal community make a living scavenging off old ships stranded off the US Gulf Coast.

This is a lawless community where violence reigns supreme. A place where booze and drugs are bountiful and eating more than once a day is just a fantasy. This community of ship breakers almost had a Mad Max feel to it.

I loved the atmosphere
Nailer, a teenager, is one of many people who live in shantytowns along the US Gulf Coast, trying to eke out a dangerous living by working on disassembling crews, taking apart abandoned — and now obsolete — oil tankers. The work is dangerous, and taking risks is almost a necessity, because if the young workers don't make quota, there are always other starving kids ready to take their jobs. Once the children get too big to crawl down the narrow ship ducts in search of copper wiring and other recy ...more
Opening Line: “Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.”

Wow what a world Paolo Bacigalupi has created here with Ship Breaker. I won’t say this is the best dystopian book I’ve read but it’s definitely up there as the freakiest in terms of a plausible or even inevitable future -should global warming cripple the earth, the ice caps melt and all of our natural resources disappear.

Initially I’d been drawn to this book because it reminded me of a documentar
Mary ♥
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5/5 stars

I'm a chess piece. A pawn. I can get sacrificed but I can't get captured. To be captured would mean the end of the game


Absolutely amazing and exactly what I wanted

I didn't know I was in a mood for dystopian when I picked up this book. I didn't know I was in the mood for ruined futures, destroyed cities, riots, and a main character who was stronger than he expected. But apparently I was. I was in the mood for blood, and guns, and sweat, and tears, and deaths, and rust and love, despite e
Stacey (prettybooks)
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Blood Red Road
We’re transported to a harsh, poverty-stricken world as soon as we turn to the very first page of Ship Breaker. Nailer is struggling to breathe and see ahead as he earns a measly living by salvaging scrap metal from grounded, derelict ships. He is part of a group known as “light crew”. It’s dangerous work, but worth it for the chance to get a Lucky Strike – mainly the discovery of oil, which is extremely scarce and thus will make its discoverer instantly rich.

It is clear that Paolo Bacigalupi fo
This book wears a whirling cloak of action and brings to life a unique speculative setting, while underneath it offers readers an introduction/exposure to all the main existentialist concepts.

I am going to miss being able to turn to this story during my daily drives. I'll miss how it conjures up ways to examine ideas of destiny, decision, fate, present and past, belonging and angst. How many YA books/audiobooks really offer that opportunity? How many books of any kind offer so much to the reade
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the writing in this tremendously dark YA novel of a post-oil, climate-crashed world. The vision of the future is convincing and compelling, the protagonists and villains vivid, and the story had a lot of momentum. Very, very solid.

addendum: ...and it's still sticking with me a couple months later, and I bought the hardcover.
Whitley Birks
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, almost-good
Ship Breaker is one of those books that suffers a lot from how close it came to being something spectacular. I started reading, encountered all these marvelous characters and concepts, and I got my hopes up. I got my hopes way up. And my hopes crashed and burned. My hopes are a stripper in LA still claiming “I’ll be an actress someday!”

The first 50 pages, and everything therein, were really good. And I mean really, really good. The idea of the world, as kind of a half-pocalypse, where th
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Paolo Bacigalupi is an award-winning author of novels for adults and young people.

His debut novel THE WINDUP GIRL was named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten best novels of 2009, and also won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Internationally, it has won the Seiun Award (Japan), The Ignotus Award (Spain), The Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis (Germany), and the Grand

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