Study Guide

Ship Breaker Tough-o-Meter

By Paolo Bacigalupi

Tough-o-Meter

(6) Tree Line

Ship Breaker may seem like a sea level or base camp book at first—hey, some action books are—but upon closer inspection, we realize it's actually a bit of a hike. The language of the novel isn't too difficult, but the themes (like how we define family and what it means to be human) are nuanced and multi-faceted. Plus, Bacigalupi has imagined a futuristic society, so we should probably make the effort to visualize it and figure out how it works. Add to that the environmental and political components of the book, and we easily arrive at Tree Line.

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