Synopses & Reviews
First came the storms.Then came the Fever.And the Wall. After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
"SF novelist Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) makes a stellar YA debut with this futuristic tale of class imbalance on the Gulf Coast. Teenage Nailer scavenges ships with his crewmates, eking out a poverty-filled existence while avoiding dangers that range from giant 'city killer' hurricanes to his vicious, drug-addicted father. When a storm strands a beautiful shipping heiress on the beach (earning her the nickname 'Lucky Girl'), Nailer manages both to infuriate members of his camp (including his father) and to become embroiled in upper-class trade disputes that he barely comprehends. As Nailer and Lucky Girl escape toward the drowned ruins of New Orleans, they witness rampant class disparity on individual and international levels (tribes whose lands were flooded have taken to the seas as pirates, attacking multinational shipping firms). Bacigalupi's cast is ethnically and morally diverse, and the book's message never overshadows the storytelling, action-packed pacing, or intricate world-building. At its core, the novel is an exploration of Nailer's discovery of the nature of the world around him and his ability to transcend that world's expectations. Ages 12 up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Exciting, poetic, and breathtaking." Sherman Alexie
"Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi." Booklist
"Although a cautionary environmental message is implicit...this is essentially a kids-on-the-lam tale with all the narrow escapes and untrustworthy alliances dear to the action crowd, and enough futuristic maritime gadgetry to lure sci-fi fans on board as well." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Orleans itself is a compelling intersection of environmental chaos and human politics. Smith repeatedly reminds readers that this was once a vibrant, stunningly alive place that suffered the ill effects of global warming and yet has still managed to eke out a kind of survival, as grim and unappealing as that survival looks. This version of NOLA reads like a twisted love letter to the original as Smith mines its famous landmarks and traditions for a dark revision . . . Smiths vision of the future is terrifying because it scarily matches reality in a world where the Doomsday clock moves closer and closer to midnight.”
STARRED REVIEW FROM BOOKLIST:
“In Smiths compelling and disturbing novel, the Gulf Coast has been formally separated from the U.S. since 2025, after a deadly plague called Delta Fever emerges from the horrific conditions following years of increasingly destructive hurricanes. . . . Alternating chapters of Fens strong and often lyrical voice and a third-person account from Daniels point of view move the complicated plot briskly. . . . powerful, relevant themes: global warming, racism, political corruption, and the complexity of human nature.”
“Gritty and dark, with plenty of glimmers of humanity, this book screams for a sequel, a trilogy, maybe even a prequel. Chapters written in the well-crafted first-person of Fens tribal dialect clash with Daniels third-person narrative chapters, but perhaps that was part of Smiths plan. It is a minor flaw in a book that will fly off the shelves and thrill readers of realistic, as well as science, fiction.”
FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“Smith imagines a captivating and truly frightening future for the United States, one in which six devastating hurricanes follow Katrinas path right into the heart of the crippled Gulf Coast. . . . the richly textured worldbuilding and the complicated relationship between Fen and Daniel, as well as the constant and varied dangers they face, will keep readers up long past their bedtimes. A harrowing and memorable ride.”
FROM HORN BOOK:
“Smith effectively tells their stories through both voices: his idealistic, naive, and grammatically perfect; hers, street-wise, in the dialect of the tribes of Orleans. Carefully crafted backstories, revealed throughout the novel, allow readers initially to form opinions and later have these either confirmed, denied, or altered. The bleak, austere setting becomes a tableau for lifes basics: survival and sacrifice, compassion and greed.”
* "Stellar."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich."--Booklist, starred review
* "This thriller will grab and keep readers' attentions as Nailer and Nita 'crew up' in their fight to survive."--The Horn Book, starred review
Praise for Ship Breaker
A Michael L. Printz Award WinnerA National Book Award FinalistA VOYA 2010 Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers BookA Rolling Stone 40 Best YA Novels Book
"Bacigalupi's future earth is brilliantly imagined and its genesis anchored in contemporary issues...The characters are layered and complex, and their almost unthinkable actions and choices seem totally credible. Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi." --Booklist (starred review)
"Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) makes a stellar YA debut with this futuristic tale of class imbalance on the Gulf Coast...Bacigalupi's cast is ethnically and morally diverse, and the book's message never overshadows the storytelling, action-packed pacing, or intricate world-building." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Ducie skillfully builds tension and smears it with a liberal coat of blood and grime. Will's lurking suspicion that the Rig is hiding something leads to a supernatural reveal that will please dystopia and sci-fi lovers, ramping up the story's danger an excitement."
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota — and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
A Nebula and Hugo Award-nominated author delivers a fast-paced dystopian adventure that is sure to appeal to fans of Little Brother and The Hunger Games.
In this action-packed fantastically-imagined thriller, fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. But Will Drake likes a challenge . . .
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a special juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. After hatching some escape plans—and making the first real friends of his life—Drake quickly realizes that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X, a blue glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan, and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom—but can they survive long enough to make it?
About the Author
Paolo Bacigalupi is a rising star in the science fiction community. The author of Pump Six and Other Stories and The Windup Girl, he is both a Nebula and Hugo Award nominee, and the winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best science fiction short story and two Locus Awards for best collection and best novelette. Paolo lives in western Colorado with his wife and son. Ship Breaker is his first novel for young adults.