Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book talk: Ship Breaker (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

Nailer Lopez is a teen with a full-time, grueling, and potentially lethal job, a job which requires him to have facial tattoos which mark him as part of a work crew and also requires him to be fairly small and lightweight. What is he? He’s a ship breaker: he scavenges wrecked, beached ships for their metal. Nailer has to crawl through tight, mazelike ducts inside the ship, usually in utter darkness, and cut away copper wire, aluminum, nickel, and steel clips. It’s really, really scary inside those dark, airless, dead ships and tankers. Kids have gotten lost and trapped and died inside of them. You crawl through tunnels over dead rats’ bodies. You pray to the Scavenge God that you’ll get out alive, and that you’ll scavenge enough metal to stay on your work crew. In this world you’re loyal only to your closest friends. So what would Nailer do if he found a girl, barely alive yet clearly very rich, on a beached ship containing both wealth and dead bodies?

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown: 2010. 326 p. Virginia Reader’s Choice for high school: 2012-2013.

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