Ship Out of Luck by Neal Shusterman: In Which This Book is Just Like Throwing Up Rainbows

In honor of Old Man Crawley’s eightieth birthday, the Bonano family has been invited to celebrate with a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean aboard the world’s largest, grandest ship. But whether on land or at sea, Antsy can’t manage to stay out of trouble: He quickly finds himself the accomplice of stowaway and thief Tilde, whose self-made mission it is to smuggle onto the ship and across the U.S. border illegal immigrants from her native Mexico. When Antsy steps in to take the fall for Tilde, he becomes the focus of a major international incident and the poster child for questionable decisions.

If you’re looking for a creepy, fun, incredibly imagined read, you really can’t go wrong with Neal Gaiman and Neal Shusterman.

This book is a little different. Unlike Shusterman’s adult and teen titles, it’s not purely about darkness. In fact, this book is hard to define. It’s composed of a lot of different themes. Dark in a different way, I guess, and perfect for 6th grade boys. I guess you could see the essence of it like this:

barfing up rainbows gif

Yes, I am going to review a book by explaining what it means to barf up rainbows in a gif. Bear with me here.

Here you see Lumpy Space Princess from the whimsical, fun and quite frankly hilarious yet dark and genuinely creepy kid’s show, Adventure Time. On first glance, this gif doesn’t really have anything about it. Lumpy Space Princess, known to Finn and Jake–the heroes of the show, as LSP, has a queasy look on her face so you can’t use this gif to explain that you’re disgusted so you’re going to barf. It’s simply a useless gif.

But then you see it. LSP is barfing up rainbows. Rainbows = this gif:

barfing up rainbows

Sure, the rainbows that LSP is spurting aren’t quite as beautiful as the rainbows in the gif below it, but they’re still rainbows. LSP’s gif is this book.

It still has Shusterman’s character. His voice as a writer. SHIP OUT OF LUCK is sophisticated and dark, full of situations that make no sense whatsoever. And yet they do, once the characters explain them. All of Shusterman’s gifts are here.

But then you look closer. And you start reading into it. And you start seeing rainbows. The rainbows take up more and more of your attention. Now, on the outside, it’s just rainbows. SHIP OUT OF LUCK is funny, whimsical and makes no sense when you try to look at it from the outside.

Did I like this book do you ask?

Yes, I did.

It’s hard to enjoy it, because let’s face it–they’re rainbows. I didn’t want rainbows. I wanted the stories I know Shusterman can produce, but this is one of them, and it’s masterful in it’s own way. Even though i hadn’t read the other books in the series before, I could still read this book and be happy with it. I fully intend to read the other books in this series as soon as possible. Perfect for any out of control young bookworm you know, a book that will confuse and delight them as much as they confuse and delight you. 3.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 256

Series: Antsy Bonano


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