cover image Iceberg


Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-338-79502-8

A British 12-year-old stowed away aboard the Titanic becomes swept up into intrigue in this increasingly tense historical novel set on the ill-fated 1912 voyage. Having left her rural life behind and finding that she lacks sufficient means to pay her fare after arriving in Southampton, Hazel Rothbury sneaks aboard the Titanic in a steam trunk. Aboard the ship, porter Charlie Blight finds her a place to sleep, and Sylvia Thorngood, a first-class passenger Hazel’s age, and her governess, invite Hazel into a world of finery and opulence. Though the factory work that awaits Hazel in New York promises to help her support her widowed mother and siblings, the quick-witted tween dreams of life as a journalist, and her inquisitive nature quickly finds her embroiled in mysteries aboard the ship. Nielsen (Lines of Courage) attentively sketches the Titanic’s allure (“as powerful as the Titans of mythology, and as elegant as... a floating castle”) and details its social hierarchy, seeding anticipation as the winning young heroine learns more about the ship’s inner workings, notices warnings about icebergs and the ship’s wake, and looks into two con artists targeting her newfound friends. It all makes for an engrossing portrait of an infamous maiden journey. Protagonists read as white; an author’s note separates fact from fiction. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Mar.)