Posts Tagged ‘Teen’

In this excellent debut young adult novel Paolo Bacigalupi creates a futuristic world, inhabited by vivid characters. In the beginning, the protagonist, Nailer, breaks ships for scrap and oil. Nailer lives in a hut on the beach with his abusive father and dreams of sailing on the wide ocean in the sleek clippers he watches zip by.

After a hurricane, Nailer finds a broken clipper marooned on the wreckage of a flooded city. The crew is all dead, except an unconscious girl, who is adorned with far more wealth, in the form of jewelry, than Nailer has ever seen…

The plot revolves around trying to get the girl to safety. Themes of loyalty, family, climate change, disparity between income groups, genetic engineering and the environment are explored. What makes this YA novel remarkable is that it explores many themes and so fully realizes a world, yet it doesn’t ever get bogged down in description. Indeed, I found this difficult to put down.

For more reviews of Paolo Bacigalupi’s books please click on the Science Fiction category to the right.

This review is cross posted on Amazon.


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Cory Doctorow’s cover-smalldystopian, YA novel is set in the Bay Area, in the near future.  America has become more of a police state.  The protagonist, Marcus, and his friends see evading security systems as a fun game.  Losing the game involves few serious consequences.  When an unspecified terrorist group blows up the Bay Bridge, Marcus and his friends are picked up as suspects and interrogated.

Upon release, Marcus uses his technical prowess to first create an encrypted communication network and then to organize a movement against the Department of Homeland Security.  As more rights are stripped from citizens and more surveillance equipment is set-up, we see people beginning to live in fear of any debate or even questioning authority.

Hanging over this story is the fact that one of Marcus’ friends was not released from prison.  We do not know his fate.  His friends assume he is dead…  This adds gravity to the entire story.

Overall, this story shows what could have happened if America had remained on the same trajectory it was on for a while after 9/11.  Alternatively, it shows what could happen if there is another big terrorist attack.  This is an excellent book for teens and teen book groups.

This book is available for a free (legal) download here:


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