Katherine Longshore 6 Tuesday, March 08, 2011
After the Printz and Newbery awards were announced earlier this year, I berated myself for having read only one of the honor winners.  And I determined to read the others.  It just took me a while to start.

I began with SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi.  It is the story of Nailer (later partially renamed Lucky Boy), a teen who lives on a Gulf Coast beach in a world destroyed by oil consumption.  Global warming has drowned the coastal cities, created regularly-occuring Class 6 hurricanes and almost completely eradicated the use of petroleum-burning engines.

Which leaves massive ships wallowing and slowly disintegrating along the shorelines.  Slowly, that is, but for the efforts of Nailer and the crew he works with, which disembowels the ships for scrap.  Nailer doesn't go to school.  He can't read.  He knows hard work, desperation and a strict code of honor.  Unless a lucky find changes the code.

Bacigalupi creates an entirely believable future world.  The opening scenes in which Nailer crawls through the narrow spaces of a shipwreck are atmospheric to the point of inducing claustrophobia.  The characters encountered throughout the book are tough and occasionally thuggish, but all are three-dimensional and real.

To say I enjoyed Ship Breaker is a cop-out.  Once I was immersed in Nailer's world, I devoured the story.  Dark with a sliver of hope.  Violent with an undercurrent of tenderness and understanding.  Desperate without complete despair.  Bacigalupi found the balance and weighted it well.


I didn't think this would be my type of read, but you make it sound very interesting. :)

i am saving this book to take on my vacation in a few days, and i CAN'T WAIT to read it!!

I haven't read this one yet and you're making me realize I really need to put it on my tbr list--near the top! Thanks for this post!

I've been considering it, but haven't decided whether I'm up for it right now. It sounds like something I'll want to read when the mood is right.

Wow, sounds awesome! New follower here. Nice to meet you. :)

I wasn't sure, either, Pam, but it definitely won me over. Lotusgirl, you may be right about needing to be in the mood. But it is absolutely worth a read.

Welcome, Pk, nice to meet you, too!

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