Ship Breaker is set in a disturbing future where grounded oil tankers are being scavenged for parts. Nailer scrambles through the tight spaces to gather up copper wiring while dreaming of one day riding on one of the high-tech clipper ships someone in his class will never set foot on. Nailer's work is perilous--he nearly drowns in a hidden oil tank (a very valuable commodity)--and his father is an abusive drunk. Nailer does have loyal friends on his crew, though. When he and his friend Pima find a lone survivor of a shipwreck--who happens to be a very wealthy girl--Nailer decides to follow his conscience and help her find her family rather than killing her or ransoming her. By doing the right thing, he finds a way to live his dream. But with the bad guys chasing them--led by Nailer's father--it won't be an easy journey.
The book is well-written and enjoyable, though as a Gulf Coast resident, I did find it a bleak and disturbing vision of the future.
Full Disclosure: I picked up a free ARC of this book at a conference. Pub date: May 2010