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Luck of the Titanic



by
Stacey Lee

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Penguin Random House
Imprint
G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN
9781524740986
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Discrimination: Sexism , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur , Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape
$21.42   $17.85
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JLG Category

History High

From the critically-acclaimed author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage.

Valora Luck has two things: a ticket for the biggest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world, and a dream of leaving England behind and making a life for herself as a circus performer in New York. Much to her surprise though, she’s turned away at the gangway; apparently, Chinese aren’t allowed into America.

But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother Jamie, who has spent two long years at sea, is there, as is an influential circus owner, whom Val hopes to audition for. Thankfully, there’s not much a trained acrobat like Val can’t overcome when she puts her mind to it.

As a stowaway, Val should keep her head down and stay out of sight. But the clock is ticking and she has just seven days as the ship makes its way across the Atlantic to find Jamie, perform for the circus owner, and convince him to help get them both into America.

Then one night the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Val’s dreams of a new life are crushed under the weight of the only thing that matters: survival.Character list. Diagram. Author’s note. “Author’s Further Note.”

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Discrimination: Sexism , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur , Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

384

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Aug 2021

Book Genres

Historical Fiction

Topics

Titanic (steamship). Brothers and sisters. Twins. Acrobats. British Chinese people. Twentieth-century history. Death. Romance. Survival stories. 

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up–Lee’s revelatory novel uncovers the tale of eight Chinese passengers braving shipwreck through the travails of a resourceful heroine. Valora Luck is in line for the RMS Titanic when she discovers that the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 will bar her from entering the United States, where she dreams of becoming a circus acrobat. But Valora needs to get on the ship for another reason—she’s desperate to find her sailor brother, Jamie. After smuggling herself onboard, Valora disguises herself as a veiled widow and gains access to a first-class cabin. Valora’s need to pass as a first-class, white English lady vies with her desire to rejoin her brother and his band of Chinese British sailors. She also craves the chance to showcase her acrobatic talent while navigating a ship’s geography defined by class, gender, immigration status, and race. Excitement abounds long before the Titanic hits an iceberg, and the twist ending aligns with the historical record. While the stakes of Valora’s quest are high, they don’t detract from the joy of reading Lee’s complex depiction of identity. Valora and Jamie are London-born children of a Chinese father and a Cockney mother, who switch fluidly between English and Cantonese. Through ­Jamie’s Chinese crew, Lee depicts a nuanced spectrum of bilingualism and cultural hybridity. VERDICT With a compassionate, strong heroine and a diverse cast, this is an exciting, important retelling of the Titanic tragedy.–Katherine Magyarody, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

*“With a compassionate, strong heroine and a diverse cast, this is an exciting, important retelling of the Titanic tragedy.”

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up–Lee’s revelatory novel uncovers the tale of eight Chinese passengers braving shipwreck through the travails of a resourceful heroine. Valora Luck is in line for the RMS Titanic when she discovers that the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 will bar her from entering the United States, where she dreams of becoming a circus acrobat. But Valora needs to get on the ship for another reason—she’s desperate to find her sailor brother, Jamie. After smuggling herself onboard, Valora disguises herself as a veiled widow and gains access to a first-class cabin. Valora’s need to pass as a first-class, white English lady vies with her desire to rejoin her brother and his band of Chinese British sailors. She also craves the chance to showcase her acrobatic talent while navigating a ship’s geography defined by class, gender, immigration status, and race. Excitement abounds long before the Titanic hits an iceberg, and the twist ending aligns with the historical record. While the stakes of Valora’s quest are high, they don’t detract from the joy of reading Lee’s complex depiction of identity. Valora and Jamie are London-born children of a Chinese father and a Cockney mother, who switch fluidly between English and Cantonese. Through ­Jamie’s Chinese crew, Lee depicts a nuanced spectrum of bilingualism and cultural hybridity. VERDICT With a compassionate, strong heroine and a diverse cast, this is an exciting, important retelling of the Titanic tragedy.–Katherine Magyarody, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

*“With a compassionate, strong heroine and a diverse cast, this is an exciting, important retelling of the Titanic tragedy.”

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