I'm late to the party on this award winning book--it won the 2011 Michael L. Prinz award (go here to see more awards), but perhaps you missed it too. (original hardback cover on the left, paperback cover on the right)
Ship Breaker (Little, Brown and Company, 2010) by Paolo Bacigalupi took me into a believable future world with an age old story of kids doing what they have to to survive. I found it fascinating and, at times, heartrending.
Nailer works on a light crew stripping wires from rusting ship hulks. It's dirty, dark, and dangerous. When he goes home, he has to be equally cautious depending on the mood of his brutal father. A hurricane in the gulf changes his luck. Or does it?
I want to know more about this world. Fortunately, there's a companion book, The Drowned Cities, that I can read next. It came out in 2012.
I'm not sure how I missed this author--Mr. Bacigalupi writes adult and YA fiction. Check out his books on his website.