Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee


Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2021. 9781524740986

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format:  Hardcover

Genre: Historical fiction

What did you like about the book?    Valora Luck has not seen her twin brother Jamie for over 2 years, but after the death of their father, he is her only family. Determined to find him again, she boards the Titanic after discovering that Jamie is employed as a fireman shoveling coal on the ship.  The twins used to perform an acrobatic act together in London to earn money for their family.  Val is determined to find Jamie and present their act to Mr. Stewart, a passenger who is connected with the Ringling Brother Circus. With the Chinese Exclusion Act in effect, Val realizes that Mr. Stewart’s power might be their only chance to gain entrance to America. On board the Titanic, Val impersonates her dead mistress in 1st Class and sneaks down to the worker’s bunks dressed as a boy. Readers get a good look at the different circumstances the classes encountered onboard.  But Val’s dreams for the future will soon be endangered by Jamie’s reluctance to perform and the ship’s tragic encounter with an iceberg.  This is a heartbreaking story that is a must read for those interested in the Titanic and historical fiction. In fact, 8 Chinese were aboard the Titanic and 6 managed to survive.  Lee uses this as a jumping off point for this poignant tale of racism, classism, and ultimately heroism. 

Anything you didn’t like about it?    No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers who loved Lee’s Downstairs Girl will enjoy this new novel featuring another spunky heroine.  Readers who are interested in the history of the Titanic will find many interesting details in this well-researched novel.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  YA fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:   August 30, 2021      

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