“Have you had your fill of dystopian novels yet? If your answer is no, then Ship Breaker maybe the book for you! Initially, I thought this novel was set in an impoverished third-world country where friends Nailer and Pima live a dangerous life scavenging for copper wire and anything else they can retrieve of value from giant oil tankers that have been grounded on the beach. Later, I was astounded to realize that the setting was the Gulf Coast of America. Sea levels have risen and frequent super storms pound the coast, flooding and ruining coastal cities. However, Nailer and Pima’s lives turn around when they discover a luxury clipper ship wrecked on a reef after a recent violent storm. This could be their “lucky strike” – a wreck teeming with valuables. But how can they keep this secret from the other gangs roaming the beach and especially Nailer’s drug crazed father? Things get even more complicated when they find a sole-survivor on the wreck, a rich daughter of the shipping company, who promises them a better life if they spare her. Thus the adventure begins when they try to reunite the “swank” girl with her clan while avoiding Nailer’s father and his gang in hot pursuit.
This book would fit perfectly on display with other violent action packed dystopian novels such as Hunger Games, Uglies and The Giver. It’s a perfect “What Do I Read Next?” book for lovers of this popular genre. There are also social studies connections. First, there are developing countries today, particularly India, where ships are deliberately grounded at the end of their usefulness and gangs similar to those in the book salvage everything possible from these behemoths. It would be an interesting exercise to compare the real lives of these “recyclers” with those in the book. Also, the idea of these “super storms” due to global warming is very topical following the devastation, eerily foretold in this book, of Super Storm Sandy. With themes such as civility, friendship, and sacrifice, students and adults alike will not want to put this book down!”