SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little Brown, fall 2010) is the author's first foray into YA (he is an award winning adult sci fi writer) sure to win him a legion of new fans (including me). Nailer is a teen who works the light crew, the part of a scavenge team who pulls old wiring (copper) in order to survive. Along the Gulf Coast there are many such teams, all in competition, all barely able to eke out an existence (you cannot call it a living). The old oil tankers that litter the coast are ripe for scavenge. Every member of the crew hopes for a Lucky Stike (so named after a crew member who hit it rich and now controls most of the trade in town). He and a fellow crew member discover a wrecked sailing vessel after a hurricane (and they come regularly in this not too distant future) with precious cargo including one of the wealthy class, a woman who will bring more in ransom than Nailer has seen in a lifetime.
Bacigalupi creates an incredible array of characters. Some are archetypal, of course, as this is a classic dystopian story. However, it never loses its focus on the teens and their emotions and reactions to the world around them. Fast paced, loaded with action and adventure, the book also possesses a heart and soul in Nailer, an unforgettable character.
POSSIBLE READING LADDER CONNECTIONS AND RUNGS:
FIRESTORM and the other books in the trilogy by David Klass
BLACK HOLE SUN
THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN and the other books in the trilogy by Susan Beth Pfeffer