I received LUCK OF THE TITANIC by Stacey Lee in my YA Once Upon a Book Club box. This is a book I didn’t know much about, but the synopsis had me intrigued!
LUCK OF THE TITANIC follows Valora Luck, a Chinese acrobat who is determined to make it on board the Titanic to track down her twin brother Jamie. Jamie is traveling with a small group of young Chinese men. Jamie has left the life of the circus and his family in order to find work. Val is denied passage on the ship because Chinese people are not permitted to go to the U.S., but Val isn’t going to be denied and she’s soon a stowaway onboard.
On the ship is an influential circus owner and Val is determined to convince her brother to find a way to audition to gain access to new work and access to America when the ship arrives. Unfortunately, the Titanic is not destined to reach its destination and Val, her brother and their found family on board must fight for survival.
I was not sure what to expect going into this one, knowing the ultimate fate of the Titanic, but I did really enjoy the read. Much of the book occurs before the inevitable tragedy and there is a lot of fun scenes of Val hiding in plain sight. There is a lot of discussion of the different classes and discrimination on board as well.
I appreciated that this novel was a fictional recreation of the lives of a few Chinese men who were on the Titanic and did survive. The author speaks a bit after the novel about how these men weren’t able to tell their own stories due to language issues, shame and discrimination. They were accused of taking seats from women and children in order to survive, so she wants to give them a much better depiction than the media provided.