Ship Breaker

B and i both listen to audio books and have rather similar tastes. Even so, i didn't find any physical audio books at the library when i looked that jumped out at me. B also didn't see any at the library he works at. As we were driving, i found that i had previously downloaded Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi onto my mp3 player so we decided to listen to it.

It takes place in the future, where resources are scarce and cheap oil is gone. Nailer and his friends are ship breakers on light crew, scavenging small and light materials, like wire, off old oil tankers and other ships. Their dream is to hit a lucky strike and get rich enough to not work on the crews anymore. Barring that, they just hope to get enough to eat that one day they will be big enough for heavy crew. After a huge mega-hurricane, Nailer and his friend Pima make a strike; they find a wrecked boat, a clipper, inside which they find a "swank" survivor. Pima wants to kill her so the wreck will be their salvage but Nailer doesn't. He's had a near death experience himself and his new-found empathy forces him to help the girl.

I liked it but it was really, really repetitive. there were at least 6 different mental or actual conversations that basically went "we should sell out/kill this girl...but she's a person...who thinks we are crap...we don't owe her anything...it might be worth more to help her...we should get what we can now... I am not my father!" arg. Two, even three times I can understand but it really went on too long. The action sequences were pretty good and Bacigalupi has a definite gift for description. The parts with Nailer working inside the oil ship were vivid and claustrophobic. I can really recommend this for young adults but more experienced readers may find the moral back and forth annoying. a 5.

This book counts for the 2011 Challenge in the YA category. gotta work on these challenges!

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