cover image Luck of the Titanic

Luck of the Titanic

Stacey Lee. Putnam, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4098-6

After two years apart from her twin brother, Jamie, British Chinese Valora Luck, 17, is boarding the Titanic, intent on finding Jamie, a coal worker heading to Cuba alongside seven other Chinese men. When the Chinese Exclusion Act results in Val being turned away at the first-class gangway despite her ticket, she engages the childhood acrobatic arts training the twins’ late father provided, climbing aboard with the assistance of white aspiring American haute couturier April Hart. Val is intent on gaining an audience with a partial owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus, certain that it’s the siblings’ chance to go big-time in New York. With cleverness and determination, Val dons disguises to navigate between classes and decks, securing a public audience with him. But there are those who would see them fail, and soon, circumstances beyond their control throw everyone’s plans—and lives—into question. Lee (The Downstairs Girl) deftly sketches a compassionate cast and immerses readers in the ship’s architecture and socially stratified atmosphere, sustaining suspense throughout by foreshadowing the disaster to come. A finely crafted historical exploration of identity, class, and family that resonates through the present. Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (May)