Book - 2015
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Petrel is an outcast on the ancient ship, an icebreaker, that has been following the same course for 300 years. In that time, the ship's crew has forgotten its original purpose and broken into three warring tribes. Everyone has a tribe except Petrel. Nicknamed the Nothing Girl, Petrel has been ostracized ever since her parents were thrown overboard as punishment for a terrible crime. But Petrel is a survivor. She lives in the ship's darkest corners, and trusts no one except two large gray rats - that is, until a mysterious boy is discovered barely alive on an iceberg, and brought onto the ship. He claims to have forgotten even his name. The tribes don't trust strangers, so Petrel hides the boy, hoping he will be her friend. What she doesn't know is that the ship guards a secret - a secret the boy has been sent to destroy.
Publisher: New York : Feiwel and Friends, 2015.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781250052162
Branch Call Number: JF TANNER
Characteristics: 294 pages ; 22 cm.
Alternative Title: Ice breaker


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Apr 14, 2021

We picked up this somewhat older book at the library on a summer run.

I've loved non-fiction stories about expeditions to the Arctic (Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir John Franklin) and Antarctic, so this book's cover caught my attention.

Visually it reminded me more than a little of the Jaws movie poster. My son read it, and said it was "pretty good." No explanation for why people turn on machines, just that they do, and life is miserable, ever after. Having once had a school assignment to make a pound cake the colonial American way, creaming the butter and sugar by hand -- it takes an hour(!!) -- my son could relate to non-electric appliance era misery.

The MC is a "Nothing Girl" who is free of the tribalism that has gripped the ship (three tribes - cooks, engineers and officers), because she belongs to no tribe. The secondary character is a boy who's been brainwashed by the anti-machinists to believe that the ship needs to be destroyed, and he's planted on the ice to be rescued and infiltrate the crew.

Feb 10, 2021

This book tells the story of the ‘Nothing Girl’ and her experience aboard a centuries-old ship with a crew divided by civil war and a loss for their initial purpose. The slow reveal of the history and ideology of the crew and dystopian world as a whole is done very well. The characters are highly caricatured but serve their purpose in the story and setting. The author spends a lot of time foreshadowing future events, in a way that is confusing upon first read. The spoon-fed clues seem unnecessary, as kids won’t be invested in random moments that don’t affect the actual story they’re interested in, and it will ruin the ending for older kids who catch on early. The story could be a lot more stimulating with tiny sprinkles of hints instead. Other than that, the easy-to-digest yet interesting setting makes this a perfect read for kids aged 9-13 who want a unique dystopian story. 3 / 5 stars
@simplyenough of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Mar 30, 2018

An interesting book. The ideas introduced to the reader are truly fascinating.

Jul 27, 2016

This is a great example of a children's book that can be enjoyed by all ages of readers. Icebreaker is the original function of the ship, <i>Oyster,</i> sent out to the southern seas during an anti-machine craze. Three hundred years later, the <i>Oyster</i> is still at sea and its crew has developed into three tribes in relation to their jobs and workplaces on board: Braid (officers), Grease (engineers), and Duff (cooks). Only 12-year-old Petrel, the Nothing Girl, has no tribe on the ship, and spends hers days, and nights, dodging bullies, scrounging for food, and mastering her particular art of hiding and appearing dull and stupid so she won't be noticed. Petrel's only friends are 2 curiously long-lived rats named Mister Smoke and Missus Slink, until one day Petrel spots a boy on a berg. With the newcomer on board, tensions and accusations rise, culminating in a world-changing climax. Truths are revealed, the sleeping captain is awakened, and the Nothing Girl reclaims her rightful name.


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Jul 27, 2016

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