Hardcover: 326 Pages
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers, May 1, 2010
Nailer Lopez works the light crew pulling copper wiring from old, sunken ships. A dangerous job that requires wit and cunning to survive. Something that Nailer has in spades. He lives in shanty town near the gulf coast with his extremely abusive father.
This book is dystopian at it's worst. I could feel the desperation and loneliness that these people feel. How they'll never amount to anything other than what they do. If they gain weight, they're not longer light crew material. But the heavy crew doesn't want them either. Life is really worthless.
Until Nailer finds a grounded clipper that was washed up during a major hurricane with this friend, Pima. They've found money and with money comes a better life. But aboard the ship is the owner's daughter, Nita. Close to death, they decide to help her find her way to her people.
Against the wrath of his father, Nailer and Nita leave the coast and travel to Orleans with a Half man, Tool. A dog/man hybrid created for their viciousness. This is really when the story takes off. Both Nailer and Nita don't know squat about each other, but they have to trust each other implicitly if they're going to make it to her family.
Nailer is smart and Nita is probably a bit smarter. They begin to understand each other. He's the lucky boy and she's lucky girl, yet somehow, the luck they have always seems to revert back to Nailer's dad, Richard. Who wants to find the girl for the bounty that is on her head.
Bacigalupi's debut YA novel is taut and terse. His world building is scary. A world that I would not want to live in or even be associated with. I guess this is dystopian at its finest. I'd heard lots about this book and winning the Prinz this year is pretty much letting me know that it's solid. I'm excited to read other stories by this very talented young writer.