Reviewed by: Mrs. Severson
This book has been on my radar for a couple of years, but I really hadn’t taken the time to learn more about the book and the author. A couple of weeks ago, one of my students lamented, “Mrs. Severson, all your books are about girls with problems.” Now that was a bit of an exageration, but there was some truth in it. The books on my classroom shelf tend to be books that I like and books that appeal to me. To rectify this situation, I’ve tried to start putting more books on my shelf that don’t have a girl with a problem in it. One of the books I purchased was Ship Breaker.
Ship Breaker is a fast and furious thriller! Nailer, the main character, works as a ship breaker. Taking the salvage off the wrecks that line the gulf coast. This is a dystopian future, where cities have been covered with water due to global warming. The future is bleak for Nailer, who has to fight for survival. And of course, there enters a girl with a problem. Nailer finds a wreck where everyone is dead except for a rich girl, Nita. Nailer and Nita, and a half-dog creature called Tool, run-away from the trouble that is following Nita.
The characters are deep and I immediately cared about them. The world building that Mr. Bacigalupi is able to do amazes me. The world building is effortless — it doesn’t feel like it takes time at all to understand this world. Maybe because we can picture the damage that the “city killer” hurricanes can do to a city like New Orleans. The theme of “crew” and finding your family rings true to both the characters and the world they live in.
I’ll recommend this book to many of the boys in my class, but I do think girls will like this book as well. I’ve heard it compared to The Roar by Emma Clayton, so I’ll recommend it to the students who enjoyed that book. One thing that really stood out to me, is that it didn’t really matter if you were a girl or a boy in this future world — everything seemed equal in an understated way..
The sequel, The Drowned Cities, is released soon, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to Nailer and Nita.