Nailer isn't sure how old he is. He isn't sure if he'll live another day. There are a few things he's sure of. Luck and loyalty have a lot to do with survival. Family doesn't mean blood. If you live on the beach, you'll die on the beach.
Ship Breaker is a young adult dystopian beginning and ending in the Gulf Coast area sometime in the future. And the future is bleak. Children join hard labor gangs to feed themselves. Killer storms wipe out entire areas. Some of our most beloved cities are under water.
Bacigalupi's vision seems original and interesting. His explanation of setting and ships creates a very vivid place for Nailer's struggle. The level of poverty that these people live in seems very real and their cultural practices convincing. It's interesting to think that while this is a work of futuristic fiction, there are ship breakers operating now, and people living in this kind of poverty.
Ship Breaker is dark and violent. It's very fast paced and a quick read. It may fill the gap for people who loved The Hunger Games and are waiting for the next great dystopian. Bacigalupi's concept of half-men was very interesting....