A post-apocalyptic, swashbuckling adventure, Ship Breaker begins the story of the young teenager Nailer, who works the “light crew” with a ship scavenging outfit on a beach on the gulf coast. Old oil tanker wrecks wash up on the beach, and Nailer climbs through their tight ductworks, stripping copper wiring for scavenge. In a future world where city-destroying category six hurricanes are a regular occurrence and the coast is lined with drowned cities and treacherous swamps, Nailer lives with his violent, strung-out father in a shack on the beach. When Nailer finds the ultimate scavenge that could bring him great wealth, he must make the tough decision to take the scavenged goods and continue life as usual on the beach, or face the unknown by rescuing a survivor for the risky and questionable possibility of great reward. Adding another complication, the survivor just so happens to be a beautiful and swanky girl.
Bacigalupi has constructed a gritty, violent adventure tale set against the backdrop of a future American gulf coast laid waste by climate change and environmental catastrophe. This book is smart but compulsively, easily readable, and is the first of a series: look for its sequel, The Drowned Cities, to appear later this year. Highly recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, this is another brutal teenage adventure rife with strong ethical dilemmas.
Written by Paolo Bacigalupi
Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: May 1, 2010