Luck of The Titanic by Stacey Lee
Young Adult Historical
Valora Luck, daughter of an English woman and a Chinese man is determined to board the illustrious Titanic, find her brother working somewhere in its depths, and convince him to start a new life with her as circus performers in America. The problem? Thanks to the Chinese Exclusion Act, she’s turned away at the dock.
So, what’s a spunky young acrobat to do besides sneak on board with the cargo. Now she only has to find an elusive circus owner and persuade him to let them audition, remind her brother of the joy of performing, and somehow not get outed as a stowaway.
And of course, there’s that little problem of being on the Titanic.
I really enjoyed this book. Valora’s character leapt off the pages right from the start and the writing was lively and well-paced. The dynamic between her and her brother, the way they saw things so differently, was intriguing and nice because neither was exactly wrong, or exactly right. Getting a taste of Chinese culture was an added bonus, and then there’s the awful realities of racism. Prejudice against Asian nations isn’t one people think of too often, and it’s a good reminder to study our history so we can learn from it instead of repeating it.
Vague spoiler – the ending was one of those bittersweet kinds. Obviously, it can’t be completely happy. I mean, it was the Titanic, you can’t avoid the fact that so many lives were lost. Normally, I’m not one for the not-so-happy-endings, but the author built it up so well I was surprisingly okay with this one.
All in all, I definitely recommend. The author did a great job making the story about so much more than the disaster and I found myself rooting for the characters lives afterwards and not just their survival.
Swearing – I counted nine instances but could have missed one or two since I was so caught up in the climax.
Sex – A few kisses and a reference to rumpled clothing – the reader is left to make their own assumptions. Also, it’s briefly implied one of the minor characters is homosexual.
Savagery (i.e. violence and death) – It’s the Titanic, plenty of people died, but it was never described in detail, so the violence was pretty mild despite it all. Aside from that there was some bullying and pushing around, but nothing major.