I can see why this book has won so many awards and why so many people love it. It's part coming-of-age, part adventure, part family drama. It's listed as dystopia/sci-fi which it technically is but I think a much wider audience would enjoy this book. There is nothing "spacey" about it and technology does not play a large role. In fact, the lack of technology in the setting is part of what really paints the picture here. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be "bleak." The world that Nailer lives in is one where people, including adolescents, need to work to survive. Injury and death are ever-present in the lives of the population. Food is scarce and one gold ring is enough to make someone a millionaire by our standards. Beyond societal issues, Nailer must also deal with a deadbeat dad who beats him and is an drug addict and alcoholic psychopath. Class issues are a point here. Nailer the ship breaker versus the "swanks" who sail the clippers and have no idea what it's like to live in a shack on the beach.The author really does an amazing job of painting the picture here. I felt for Nailer. He is a character who's upbringing and class have defined him up until this point in his life and the author does a wonderful job of carrying it through in Nailer's thought process and actions throughout the book. But, this is also a story of redemption of a sort. How the choices we make ultimately define us, not what others think of us or how we were brought up. There is no amazing happy ending here. Even when things turn out right there is always the shadow. What's going to happen now? Do the actions of the father carry on in the actions of the son? How to reconcile the action with the intent?This really was a good book. I only rated it three stars because it wasn't personally my cup of tea. Much of it is set on ships and the ocean. Much of it is an adventure story. It was wel-written and the plot moved along nicely - it just wasn't a story that I enjoyed as much as others. As I said earlier, I think this would be immensely enjoyable to many people.Also, if you're looking for a book to recommend to a teenaged boy this might be a good bet.