After a conversation about the trouble I was having finding good books for older teenage boys, a friend sent me a link to an interview with author Paolo Bacigalupi. As soon as I was done reading the interview (which you can read here), I went out and picked up a copy of Bacigalupi’s YA debut, Ship Breaker. Set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, Ship Breaker finds teenage Nailer and his friends salvaging the remains of ancient oil tankers. When Nailer stumbles across the wreckage of a luxury cruiser, he makes a startling discovery that will set him off on a deadly adventure that will forever change his life.
Fast-paced with plenty of action, Ship Breaker is a sometimes violent, always engaging coming-of-age tale. Bacigalupi populates the book with memorable characters locked in high-stakes, game of survival. He takes the story and his hero places that might seem too violent and grim for some readers, but it’s the two-fisted nature of the story that makes it both engaging and entertaining, and Bacigalupi never disappoints. Nailer is a great character, with a compelling story arc that drives the story, and even though Ship Breaker is written with older teen boys in mind, there are some great female characters to balance out the story.