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Luck of the Titanic

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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 people aren't allowed into America. But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother, Jami 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 people 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 on board, as is an influential circus owner. 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, audition 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.


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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 people aren't allowed into America. But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother, Jami 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 people 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 on board, as is an influential circus owner. 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, audition 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.

30 review for Luck of the Titanic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    When I was a kid I had a fascination with shipwrecks and literally couldn't tell you why. I just remember learning about the Edmund Fitzgerald and then spending hours googling and on the phone with my friend talking about it in grade 3. I also loved the Magic Tree House Tonight on the Titanic book. This preamble is all to say that I spent a lot of time googling while reading this, and because of my fascination with shipwrecks I was kind of predisposed to like this. But, Stacey Lee did a fantasti When I was a kid I had a fascination with shipwrecks and literally couldn't tell you why. I just remember learning about the Edmund Fitzgerald and then spending hours googling and on the phone with my friend talking about it in grade 3. I also loved the Magic Tree House Tonight on the Titanic book. This preamble is all to say that I spent a lot of time googling while reading this, and because of my fascination with shipwrecks I was kind of predisposed to like this. But, Stacey Lee did a fantastic job of exposing the untold stories of the Chinese survivors of the Titanic. Obviously it's a fictional account, but it still taught me about the 6 Chinese survivors who weren't given the same respect as their white counterparts. I loved Valora and Jamie, the British-Chinese acrobatic twins. Valora is hoping to gain passage to America as part of the Ringling Brothers circus. I liked that a lot of the book was life on the Titanic, giving you a chance to get attached to these characters even though you know things won't end entirely happy for them. You know it's going to be tragic but it didn't read like a tragedy. It was very easy to forget where the story was actually set. The ending, speaking off, definitely is divisive but I enjoyed it. As heartbreaking as it was, it felt right. This also touches upon the Chinese Exclusion Act and you see how that is a major obstacle for these characters. The prejudice they experience is hard to read, but the story is still brimming with family and love. Those platonic relationships were the focus of the story and I enjoyed that. It was a refreshing change from the Titanic movie which is obviously this epic love story. This had a romance but very much as a side plotline. It was more about family, both biological and found. Overall I think this was such a well done historical fiction. I was so excited for it and I'm glad it didn't disappoint me at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Booktastically Amazing

    So apparently, having common sense is optional. And I'm referring to myself, by the way. Rating: 😈😈😈😈😈 4.8 We all know the Titanic. That certain tragedy that was made into a movie which made my eyes puff up to the size of Jupiter and which made me the wonderful perpetually angry human I am today. JACK COULD'VE FIT ON THE DOOR WITH HER. HE COULD'VE. DANG IT. So obviously, I knew what I was getting into. Even anticipated a few tear drops to escape the jail cell of my bucket less soul. And I was right. So apparently, having common sense is optional. And I'm referring to myself, by the way. Rating: 😈😈😈😈😈 4.8 We all know the Titanic. That certain tragedy that was made into a movie which made my eyes puff up to the size of Jupiter and which made me the wonderful perpetually angry human I am today. JACK COULD'VE FIT ON THE DOOR WITH HER. HE COULD'VE. DANG IT. So obviously, I knew what I was getting into. Even anticipated a few tear drops to escape the jail cell of my bucket less soul. And I was right. Kind of. It made me cry. A lot. Mostly internally, but we'll count those as well. And as if my tears weren't painful enough to acknowledge, the author hit me over the head with 'the last chapter'. I see no one laughing, do you think that's funny?? Do you. Think. That's funny? What is up with authors wanting me to into a premature food coma these days? First, the cliffhangers. Now, THIS. Um... where's the license of the one that took the driver's seat of my emotions? I want it back, but I also don't. See what I mean when I say I confuse myself? On one hand, I love being absolutely and utterly emotionally obliterated by a book. However, on the other hand, I want to cut off some heads when someone leaves me heartbroken like I previously wished to be. (?????????) The whole darn storyline, plot, pace, setting; basically everything that was the building block for this novel, was irreproachable. I laughed so many times out of astonishment at how easily I forgot this was on the Titanic and not a cruise in which all dreams would come true. The lightness of the storyline, with the tension of the delicate twists embedded in it, stitched with threads of devastating sorrow, served to prove to me (once again) Stacey Lee is an absolute queen. (Even though I've only read two books of hers, including this one and the rest might turn out horribly; yes, I still see the sense in this). I treasured the fast chain of events that unfolded and admired all the historical tidbits that didn't make me hit the SNOOZE button, instead making me all the more enthralled with Luck of the Titanic. Everything was explained wonderfully (me thinking back to the fact that I was lost on the ship for about thirteen chapters because I had no idea where the heck I was located), the way certain things evolved and changed left me gasping in delight. In other, simpler words, I fangirled a little too much. I felt like I was literally ON the Titanic. I smelled the sea (perhaps my sweat), felt the soft breeze (most likely my fan) and squealed with the crew (yeah nope, definitely in my head). Now, I just have to add every Stacey Lee book to my TBR- An excerpt of my interview with The Writing: Me: Hello, I have come to ask a few questions. Writing: Yes, child? Me: HOW COME YOU ARE SO GOOD AND ENCOMPASS DRENCHED FEELINGS, PERFORMIND ACROBATICS WITH MY EMOTIONS. Writing: I... Me: Yes? My question was indeed not rhetorical, I need an answer. Writing: Dear one, have I ever told you the story of the dancing prince- Me: NO. Do not begin with that, you'll break me more. Just stop. Answer the question, please. Writing: Alright... I crave for you to suffer and have a stuffy nose for days. I love seeing you metaphorically crawl across the carcasses of your sanity. I adore the smell of your anxiety and agony at my words. Me: O-oh. Okay. Okay, great answer. Yep. Super cool. This was basically my thinking all throughout the book. Every time I read a chapter, I felt as if my soul transcended to the third plane of Olympus. The way it flowed, the way it caressed my hair with it's perfectly described scenes. How it left me aghast and awaiting Death's carriage, because holy smokes. How can anyone every top this? Yes, I loved it. Yes, I admired it. Yes to everything. (unless you say the writing is bad. If so, Hahah, no.) The characters owe me a huge, mega, humongous, drowning in praise, heartfelt apology. Uh huh, that's it. Actually no, some of them killed me beyond measure, I'll describe those because I hate them. But I love them as well. The MC was a goddess. This girrrrrrl. She was strong, fierce, human (it's a thing), relatable, poetic, had the ability to argue so beautifully and was simply a breathe of fresh air amidst every other YA character I've read about this past week. And yes, I did just pull a 'not like other YA characters'. Wait till I finish my Lovely Vicious review (which I've been working on for the past month), ahahaha, that's going to be epically disastrous. The woman was unapologetically cool and frankly, can I get her as a BFF? Hm?? Can you REPAY ME FOR WHAT I WENT THROUGH ON THE LAST PAGES? *dry chuckle* I will choke you. I applaud how her ability to be her and her only, without trying to change unless there was a role to fit into, and adored her way of expressing her opinions.  And the banter, y'all. THE BANTER. *sigh* I'm tearing up again, DANG IT. Okay, I'm alright. I'm safe. These feelings cannot get you anymore, Booksy. You finished the book a while ago. Breathhheeee. Yeah nope, not working. Every single secondary/ background person in this story were so easily recognizable, it confuzzled me as to how I remembered their roles. I almost always have to highlight the crap out of pages so as to properly recall who does what and what happens after that what was done. I liked how each of them had different opinions and did not fit into just one level of craziness. The lot of them were crazy, but in varying degrees. *snort* As the story progressed, I got to connect with them more deeply than I expected myself to. Sue me, I love historical books, never really feel anything for the characters, until now. And then they took that happiness away from me. Just read the book already and cry with me, porfavor. I need that venting session. Also, tissues. All of the characters were interesting beyond measure and held a sort of bittersweet remembrance atop of my emotionally drained meter. I hate you but like you at the same time. Stop making me conflicted. I must mention that the fact that the romance wasn't the focus of the story (TWIST!) Left a gaping hole in my chest because wow, how did they know what I was looking for???? All the 'I love you' nonsense was not present, all the 'I would die for you' stupid crap was not to be seen. So yes, I liked it a lot. One thing I must mention though, is that I wish there would've been more chemistry between them? Don't get me wrong, they almost kissed approximately 56789 times, and I was holding my breath for every single one of them, but didn't really want to ship them? Okay, scratch that, I actually did. But still? Something was missing? I really have no idea, and right now I want to finish this review, so I can curl up in a traumatized ball of cheese puffs. Oh- OH!! I almost forgot Jamie. The brother, you know? I just want to say a few words to him. *wrenches the guy from the depths of the book* Jamie: Wh- what is happening-? Me: I gave you one chance. One. To make me hate you. ONE. And you made me fall for you. You deserve all the best in life, you stupid mongrel. Jamie: Okay, I'm a bit confuse- *shoves him into the book again* The brother/ sister interactions were so relatable I felt them deep within my soul. 5 STARS FOR THAT. 5. STARS. *cue me sniffing their convo obsessively to see if some wittiness would get absorbed through my respiratory system* On a closing note, this was amazing. I would re-read it again and again and again... after 45 years have passed. Until I'm ready to face the heart break for the 567 time in the last three days. I would give this, 5 stars as a whole, but there are some things (such as the chemistry) that could've had a bit of a boost and some interactions got glossed over a bit, AND because I'm petty like that. You don't get to do that to me and then expect me to give you 5 stars. (I have indeed realized that my past three books have destroyed me in varying measures, so maybe that's why I always sound super extra angry. Either that, or I have a problem-) Continue Reading Disclaimer: Any and all opinions said up there are my own, and please feel free to call me out for any errors or any offensive comments, so I can get right on it and get it fixed! .................................................. I am sobbing and it's barely 9 am. I still have class. So um... I can't see through my tears. So that's just GREAT. THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY DAY. CAN YOU FEEL THE SARCASM OOOOOOZING OUT OF ME???? P.S: I am writhing in agony. Drenched in pain. I don't think I can breathe anymore. *whispering* Why would YOU DO THAT- NOW I HAVE TO STUDY WITH A FREAKING BROKEN HEART. ARE YOU HAPPY- ARE YOU CACKLING WITH HADES- .................................... Are you telling me, that this is about a girl. On the Titanic, striving to survive. BECAUSE IT'S THE TITANIC?! AND THE BOOK HAS THAT COVER?! Excuse you, why isn't this in my hands yet, huh? Why? P.S: I am this close to crying. I don't have this book with me. I cannot cuddle with it, cannot stroke its pages. Ughhhhhh

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I'M DEAD. Dead. THIS FREAKING COVER, THE TITANIC, DIVERSE CHARACERS, STACEY LEE... Ahhhhh THAT COVER! IT. IS. SOOOO GORGEOUS & ALL ELEGANCE & ART DECO! I'M DEAD. Dead. THIS FREAKING COVER, THE TITANIC, DIVERSE CHARACERS, STACEY LEE... Ahhhhh THAT COVER! IT. IS. SOOOO GORGEOUS & ALL ELEGANCE & ART DECO!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    https://stormyreadsya.home.blog/2021/... O.M.G. I just finished this like literally 5 seconds ago and wow. I am writing this through my tears so don’t mind a few spelling mistakes. First of all, the atmosphere? Impeccable. I actually felt like I was on the Titanic, which was terrifying and amazing all at once. The writing style just drew me right in and it makes me want to read everything Stacey Lee has ever written and will ever write. Metaphors and descriptions I had never heard before but someh https://stormyreadsya.home.blog/2021/... O.M.G. I just finished this like literally 5 seconds ago and wow. I am writing this through my tears so don’t mind a few spelling mistakes. First of all, the atmosphere? Impeccable. I actually felt like I was on the Titanic, which was terrifying and amazing all at once. The writing style just drew me right in and it makes me want to read everything Stacey Lee has ever written and will ever write. Metaphors and descriptions I had never heard before but somehow knew exactly what they were? It was amazing. There was the perfect balance between plot events, descriptions, and Valora’s inner thoughts. Speaking of, she was so relatable at times and so so funny while also being so real. I love Valora so much. "Lady Sky wears rouge when she wants to be noticed.” This one also features an adorable found family, which is one of my favorite tropes. The cast of characters was vast and eccentric and I loved them all (except for Skeleton that guy can go die in a sinking ship, lol). Bo and Valora make the most amazing couple ever with all the chemistry. Also April? Marry me please. I love April so much! Let’s just say her and Anna Lightwood would be best friends. She’s a fashion icon and just iconic in general. Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end of this book, the beginning was so fun and entertaining at times I forgot. And then, of course, I remembered. And got super sad. Even though you know starting this that there is no way all of your faves will survive, you find yourself hoping anyway. And omg the way the sinking was handled made me so mad. Of course, I was supposed to be mad, but when they were launching half full lifeboats full of haughty, rich people and not allowing Valora and two children on I wanted to launch my book across the room (but I didn’t because I just had to keep reading). Valora is one of my new favorite main characters. She’s got guts, that’s for sure. She so fiercely loves her family, both biological and found, and will do absolutely anything for them. And does. She is so funny and relatable, but also is absolutely fearless. Even when she’s not balancing on the railing on a moving ship (!), she is so brave in challenging anyone around her who makes assumptions. "There are moments to be strong, but there are also moment to be weak. And in those moments of rest, we find strength anew and challenge ourselves to grow bigger than we ever though possible.” Honestly I don’t really know what to say other than I loved this book with all my heart and I need anyone reading this right now to click away (just for a second) and go on to their preferred bookstore website and order a copy. I promise you will not regret it. Read this book if: you loved The Titanic (the movie), if you love historical fiction, if you love the found family trope, just read this book please Avoid this if: you don’t want to read one of the best books I’ve ever read

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    TW: confinement, death, death of a parent, grief, racism, racial slurs, sexual assault, xenophobia.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    A whole lot of nothing happens, and then the Titanic sinks. This book's premise sounded fascinating, and I have enjoyed Stacey Lee's work in the past, but this book was a huge disappointment. There is very little meaningful character development, and what little plot there is gets dragged out way too long, with far too many inconsequential details. Sometimes, I felt like we were just shadowing the main character's every step on the ship, from her veiled disguise in First Class to her mingling in A whole lot of nothing happens, and then the Titanic sinks. This book's premise sounded fascinating, and I have enjoyed Stacey Lee's work in the past, but this book was a huge disappointment. There is very little meaningful character development, and what little plot there is gets dragged out way too long, with far too many inconsequential details. Sometimes, I felt like we were just shadowing the main character's every step on the ship, from her veiled disguise in First Class to her mingling in steerage, without much of anything actually happening. I was interested in the sibling dynamic suggested in the premise, but it ended up being very frustrating. Valora, the main character, originally gets on the Titanic because she wants to reconnect with her twin brother. Only, he is rather reticent during their reunion, is settled with his job and new friends with the shipping company, and doesn't want to abandon his new life to join with her incredibly dubious plan of convincing an American circus manager to take them on as acrobats and circumvent the Chinese Exclusion Act for them. I sympathized with Valora's feelings at first, but I sympathized with her brother's situation much more, and I disliked how she kept demanding that he get in line with her plan. Also, far too much of the book involves every single circuitous step involved in her winning over her brother and getting the circus manager to give them a hearing. I never felt persuaded of why it was important to Valora to go to America, and this all seemed like an unnecessarily convoluted way for Stacey Lee to honor the real-life Chinese people on the Titanic. There were so many holes in the story, and so many flaws in Valora's plans, that I didn't find the narrative convincing. If she'd had emotionally compelling and powerful reasons to want to go to America, I would have bought her desperate scheme, but she just wanted a promising future and decided on an unnecessarily harebrained and complicated way of pursuing it. Why couldn't she just convince her brother to go somewhere else with her, and establish themselves there? The story also takes regular jaunts off into backstory, sharing details about the characters' childhoods, mixed-race family dynamic, and alcoholic Chinese father. Backstory can be a great way to build suspense and resolve mysteries about the past, but the backstory here was repetitive and similar, making the same points in the same ways without adding anything significant. There's some historical color, and we learn more about the characters' lives, but not in a way that adds momentum to the narrative. There's also a completely unnecessary subplot about Valora agreeing to help raise a fashion designer's profile by wearing her dress designs on the ship. The other woman is vaguely implied to be queer, and helps support Valora for plot reasons, but the storyline goes nowhere. It's either a total plot contrivance or an attempt to have a queer character, but it falls completely flat either way. It added nothing of substance to the story, and was just a waste of pages. I also feel similarly about the extremely underdeveloped romantic subplot between Valora and one of her brother's friends. It never went anywhere, was utterly nonessential to the story, and just involved hormonal feelings of attraction, with no real character development. The Titanic elements are well-researched, but there are lots of random anachronisms. The sprinkling of historical slang can't save the dialogue from sounding way too modern almost the whole time, and Valora and her brother apply CPR fifty years before it was invented. These issues won't be deal-breakers for the average historical fiction YA reader, but they really bothered me. Also, the ending is frustrating, because Valora (view spoiler)[refuses lifeboats MULTIPLE TIMES, when she is incredibly lucky to have a single opportunity, and she then dies in the middle of the frigid ocean, giving herself up so that a passing lifeboat will take her brother (hide spoiler)] . It's a Titanic novel, so I knew that people were going to die, but the way that it happened was frustrating and unnecessary, just like this entire book. I truly wanted to like this novel, but it doesn't live up to the beautiful cover, much less to the author's previous standards. The story is long, protracted, and overly convoluted, without accomplishing much at all, with unnecessary backstory and subplots that don't do anything to flesh out the already very weak story. This could have been a fantastic, unique, diverse look into a familiar historical tragedy, and could have had tremendous pathos and power, but by the time the ship started going down, I had already lost interest and was just ready for the book to be over.

  7. 4 out of 5

    human

    hmm, maybe it's something about the titani- OH MY GOD COVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR hmm, maybe it's something about the titani- OH MY GOD COVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  8. 4 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    4.5 stars read on my blog rep: biracial (Chinese, white) protagonist and main character, ownvoices Chinese side characters, lesbian side character cw: racism, use of slurs **I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley (thank you, Penguin Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** Luck wears many faces . . . As far as I’m concerned, the best way to counter bad luck is to make some luck of your own. Historical fiction has never been my gen 4.5 stars read on my blog rep: biracial (Chinese, white) protagonist and main character, ownvoices Chinese side characters, lesbian side character cw: racism, use of slurs **I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley (thank you, Penguin Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** Luck wears many faces . . . As far as I’m concerned, the best way to counter bad luck is to make some luck of your own. Historical fiction has never been my genre, and I also have no real interest in the Titanic honestly. However, Stacey Lee’s books have always been an exception to the former, so I knew I had to give this book a try! I’m so glad I did because I loved it. Luck of the Titanic explores the infamous Titanic voyage from the perspective of a girl who shouldn’t be on the ship at all as she sets out to reunite with her twin brother. Using the tickets her employer had bought, Valora Luck attempts to board the Titanic. When that doesn’t work, she stows away on the ship, in search of her twin brother Jamie, whom she hasn’t seen in two years. She finally locates him with other Chinese seamen, including Bo. Despite the Chinese Exclusion Act in place, Val dreams of going to America and performing as an acrobat in the Ringling Brothers Circus, and she tries to convince Jamie to join her. Their time is limited to convince the lead investor into seeing their performance, not only because of the voyage and Val’s flimsy scam but also by the tragic event that awaits them. Again, I’ve never much cared for Titanic stories; I know other people are, but it’s just never been something that interested me. That being said, I really liked how Lee approached this book. Her historical books always follow a Chinese protagonist in a Western society that shuns them, and it was really fascinating to read about this event from someone who is looked down upon. I’ve never known about the eight Chinese men aboard the Titanic, and I thought it was interesting how Lee built her story up from there. I really liked the characters! Both Val and Jamie are stubborn yet immensely loyal and caring towards the ones they care about, although Val is probably a bit more stubborn than him, something she acknowledges. Jamie’s friends also play prominent roles in the book, including his best friend Bo, who disagrees with Val’s scheme. The writing was great, as well. I think what usually irritates me about historical fiction is the language of it, but Lee’s books always take you back in time without reading so stilted. There was also a lot of foreshadowing that you, as the reader, can definitely pick up on, especially since you know how the Titanic ends. I also liked the concept of “luck” in this book; Val and Jamie’s surname is Luck (changed from their father’s original Chinese surname), and Val often gives thought to whether or not luck is something required or if she herself can carve her place in the world on her own. There’s a bit of a romance between Val and Bo, which I liked because I just really liked his character. However, this book, at its heart, is about Val and Jamie’s relationship as twins. They were so close as children, but Val doesn’t understand Jamie’s more cynical attitude towards their childhood and memories of their alcoholic father. They haven’t seen each other in two years; Val seeks to heal the rift between them and to convince him to go with her in America. I’m always a sucker for a good sibling relationship, and I loved seeing the two of them in this book as they stubbornly protect each other. Again, we all know how the Titanic story ends, but I spent so much of this book in denial of it because I just wanted more moments with these characters. I don’t want to spoil the fates of these characters though, so I’ll just say that the last 15% put me through the wringer and left me in tears. Luck of the Titanic takes an infamous event and makes it its own. I loved the characters and the strong twin bond between Val and Jamie! If you’re looking for a historical fiction book and/or one with an amazing sibling relationship, I definitely recommend Luck of the Titanic! original review: me, knowing how the titanic ends but being in full denial the entire book...I'm crying rn

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Meadows

    I ugly cried.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lady Amanda

    Never in my life did I ever imagine seeing people who look like me in historical fiction, let alone a story like the Titanic. Honestly this is something I didn't know I needed. Check out my full review here! :) Here's a preview: Fun, real, heartwarming, thought provoking, witty, and charming. Luck of the Titanic is the Titanic story I wish we all knew. Move over Rose and Jack, make way for Val and Jamie. Never once did I ever imagine to be able to see someone who looked like me in a historical fic Never in my life did I ever imagine seeing people who look like me in historical fiction, let alone a story like the Titanic. Honestly this is something I didn't know I needed. Check out my full review here! :) Here's a preview: Fun, real, heartwarming, thought provoking, witty, and charming. Luck of the Titanic is the Titanic story I wish we all knew. Move over Rose and Jack, make way for Val and Jamie. Never once did I ever imagine to be able to see someone who looked like me in a historical fiction about the Titanic. I didn’t even realize that people who looked like me were aboard in the first place! It was a whole new experience to see people like me exist at all before modern day. Historical fiction so often, especially about events we hear about often like the Titanic, has never felt relatable in the least to me. Until this. This book brought me that. It told me that even in historical fiction, we can see diversity. People who look like me. Quick summary: Luck of the Titanic is a historical fiction that works to tell the story of the six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent. It follows twin siblings, Valora and Jamie Luck, two twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic’s maiden voyage, which was the same time of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Determined to make it to America, Valora brews a plan that will allow them to get into America before the ship makes it across the Atlantic. I can absolutely say right off the bat that my favorite part was that this book kept me guessing. I read this with Saima, and we both kept guessing what would happen wrong. I say that this is my favorite part because it was very impressive that a book about a major historical event, one that is so famous we all know the story, ends up being surprising at all. I was very impressed with that alone that made my experience of the book go up a ton! Continue reading... Bookish Brews | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr

  11. 4 out of 5

    literarylesbian

    This book had absolutely stunning story telling! I truly feel in love with Valora’s narration and definitely recommend this book to any historical fiction fans. I really enjoyed the point of view this book provided given how white washed so much of the historical fiction genre is.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷₈⁷ ♠

    YES. SO MUCH Y E S

  13. 4 out of 5

    katie ❀

    i'm kind of disappointed??? oh well. i'm kind of disappointed??? oh well.

  14. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    Five soggy, crying, messy and utterly devastated tears. Each time I think I know what I'm getting into with a Stacey Lee book, she does something new and shatters my soul. Full review to maybe come. Five soggy, crying, messy and utterly devastated tears. Each time I think I know what I'm getting into with a Stacey Lee book, she does something new and shatters my soul. Full review to maybe come.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ✧・゚⁽⁽ଘ Shreya ଓ⁾⁾✧・゚

    "There are moments to be strong, but there are also moment to be weak. And in those moments of rest, we find strength anew and challenge ourselves to grow bigger than we ever thought possible.” My rating: 4.5 stars (rounded up) So I just finished this book and I should probably give myself some space before writing the review but then again, will I ever be ready? cue some sad but dreamy music as I stare out the window and contemplate this question. Ok well, I decided I'll review it now instead of "There are moments to be strong, but there are also moment to be weak. And in those moments of rest, we find strength anew and challenge ourselves to grow bigger than we ever thought possible.” My rating: 4.5 stars (rounded up) So I just finished this book and I should probably give myself some space before writing the review but then again, will I ever be ready? cue some sad but dreamy music as I stare out the window and contemplate this question. Ok well, I decided I'll review it now instead of later but can I just have a moment please AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ok now I'm done, but just a warning this review is going to have a lot of exclamation points!! And also some capital letters cause I just felt the need to have them. The Characters Oh the characters...I just loved them all! (except for Skeleton!!) Valora is fierce and determined and I loved how she was brave enough to go after her brother and pretend to be Mrs.Sloane and do so many other difficult and scary things! During the last chapters, she was brave to the very end...{okay enough about the ending, or I may cry.} She's AMAZING at acrobatics and her dialogue was soo good! I liked Jamie too, but I especially liked the two of them together. There were so clearly twins, from the way they argued to their banter to their connected memories. Just from a few scenes, I could see how they were so comfortable with each other and also know each other really well. ahhhhhhhhh and the thing with them blowing on air as if there's dandelion there!!! Just sooo....beautiful!! Yeah, I reread this and sounds kinda crazy but it makes a lot more sense if you read it. I also really liked how they were like a dragon(Valora) and a phoenix(Jamie) that I searched up and I found really beautiful art The crew was great too and I liked how each of the characters had their own personality and just how well they fit together. Speaking for the crew, I also like the chemistry between Valora and Bo, mostly because it didn't take up much of the plot and it wasn't overly dramatic!! yayyy! Olly and Wink were soo cuteee and I just wanted to be safe. They were eager to help in any way they could and at times I could see they were children, while at other times they seemed to more grown-up. April and Charlotte were great side characters and I liked both of them for their own reasons, but I don't want to spoil anything so I'll leave it at that. The Plot The plot was more suspenseful than I thought it would be, not because of what I knew would happen at the end, but because I was worried that Valora would get caught! I also really wanted to know what would happen with her acrobatic dreams and how she would convince her brother, and all the other stuff going on. What I thought was surprising about this book is how it had the ability to make me COMPLETELY forget what was going to happen in the end. It was so fun and entertaining that I forget about how I'm reading about the TITANIC and the ending isn't going to be a happily ever after for everyone. The Writing The writing is sooo beautiful!! It's definitely one of the things(other than the characters!) that I loved most. The descriptions were so well-done that I almost felt like was actually on the Titanic with them. The memories from the character's past were woven in perfectly and there so many good quotes throughout! My Final Thoughts The Titanic is so widely known, and yet I've somehow never heard about the Chinese passengers on board and what they went through. There were many instances throughout the book like with the burnt bread heels and how the passengers were separated, that showed just how differently they were treated. During the last few scenes, the rich people were boarded onto lifeboats first, because they were considered more worthy and it just made me so mad!! Even when there was space on the lifeboats, they didn't let the Chinese passengers in. This book was not only a good book, but it also told an important story that should be heard. ✨ You can find this review and others on my blog! ✨

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    I know what happened to the Titanic. I’ve seen the movies, read the books, visited the museum. And yet somehow I let myself get attached to the characters in this book, but in my defense they were so well written. Valora Luck is a spectacular young lady who manages to stowaway on the Titanic. And she manages to find some allies and fool her way into a first class cabin that should have belonged to her recently departed mistress. She’s doing everything she can to find her brother and help him rea I know what happened to the Titanic. I’ve seen the movies, read the books, visited the museum. And yet somehow I let myself get attached to the characters in this book, but in my defense they were so well written. Valora Luck is a spectacular young lady who manages to stowaway on the Titanic. And she manages to find some allies and fool her way into a first class cabin that should have belonged to her recently departed mistress. She’s doing everything she can to find her brother and help him realize that their destiny is to go to New York and join the circus. Her brother, Jamie, has other plans and is enjoying working on ships and tries to persuade Valora to go back to England. Valora and Jamie are from Chinese descent, but they are from England. The racism that they face aboard the Titanic was hard to read, but I am sure it was not as graphic as it was then. I devoured this book and really enjoyed the story (even if I spent the last fifth or so of the book crying).

  17. 4 out of 5

    jut

    stacey lee did one amazing hell job here!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    My ability to write thoughtful reviews will be hampered for a while, but I loved this. Stacey Lee writes incredible YA historical fiction and this story of biracial Valora seeking out her twin brother on the Titanic as a stowaway -- with the goal to get into America and join the Ringling Brothers Circus in order to evade the Chinese Exclusion Act -- is complex, compelling, and utterly immersive. Val is such a clever character, and though the ending is pretty obvious early on, it didn't make it l My ability to write thoughtful reviews will be hampered for a while, but I loved this. Stacey Lee writes incredible YA historical fiction and this story of biracial Valora seeking out her twin brother on the Titanic as a stowaway -- with the goal to get into America and join the Ringling Brothers Circus in order to evade the Chinese Exclusion Act -- is complex, compelling, and utterly immersive. Val is such a clever character, and though the ending is pretty obvious early on, it didn't make it less enjoyable the entire way through. Pair this with Malinda Lo's Last Night at the Telegraph Club for some necessary and fantastic historical fiction with female leads of color.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    I knew this would be devastating and yet I was still shocked at how devastating this was. I spent the last 20% just... crying. Stacey Lee retells a well-known tragedy through the perspective of the people who have usually been ignored when talking about it: the Chinese passengers. What begins as an adventurous story of a girl doing whatever she can to get reunited with her brother, ends up having a huge emotional impact in multiple ways. This is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long I knew this would be devastating and yet I was still shocked at how devastating this was. I spent the last 20% just... crying. Stacey Lee retells a well-known tragedy through the perspective of the people who have usually been ignored when talking about it: the Chinese passengers. What begins as an adventurous story of a girl doing whatever she can to get reunited with her brother, ends up having a huge emotional impact in multiple ways. This is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time. I've been wanting to read Stacey Lee's books for a long time, but somehow I never got around to it. I'm glad this was my first one, because it was so good. I'll definitely pick up the author's backlist as well!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    April 10-15, 1912 Twins Valora and Jamie's parents are of Caucasian (mom) and Chinese (father) descent. Both parents are deceased and the twins are living separate lives as young adults. When Valora learns Jamie will be sailing aboard the newly built Titantic, she takes the opportunity presented to her to board as well. Valora is hoping for a new life in America for both of them. Jamie isn't happy to see his sister aboard as he has plans to shovel coal in Cuba. In addition, he's frustrated with April 10-15, 1912 Twins Valora and Jamie's parents are of Caucasian (mom) and Chinese (father) descent. Both parents are deceased and the twins are living separate lives as young adults. When Valora learns Jamie will be sailing aboard the newly built Titantic, she takes the opportunity presented to her to board as well. Valora is hoping for a new life in America for both of them. Jamie isn't happy to see his sister aboard as he has plans to shovel coal in Cuba. In addition, he's frustrated with how Valora gets on board (pretending to be a well off widow). Much of the novel is about the conflict between sister and brother and their differing aspirations. The author does a good job of painting the picture of disparity among classes aboard the Titanic. The bits of dry humor were a nice addition for what readers know is to come for so many passengers. One example of humor: "Her smile was as thin as a Communion wafer". The Epilogue was an excellent wrap-up. Eight Chinese passengers were traveling on the Titanic and six survived. Little is known about them.

  21. 4 out of 5

    cossette

    i am a puddle of tears no one talk to me this book has ruined me

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The ending made me cry! I love this author's books because she always gives a voice to the voiceless, and I'm so glad this story exists to honor the Chinese passengers who lost their lives... or were shamed for surviving. The ending made me cry! I love this author's books because she always gives a voice to the voiceless, and I'm so glad this story exists to honor the Chinese passengers who lost their lives... or were shamed for surviving.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dewi

    Thanks to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Luck of the Titanic is loosely based on the events that transpired on the infamous Titanic and more specifically, the eight Chinese people that boarded the ill-fated ship. Valora Luck smuggles herself aboard to find her brother Jamie as well as to join the circus that can bring her to America under the Chinese Exclusion Act. What I really like is the historical fi Thanks to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Luck of the Titanic is loosely based on the events that transpired on the infamous Titanic and more specifically, the eight Chinese people that boarded the ill-fated ship. Valora Luck smuggles herself aboard to find her brother Jamie as well as to join the circus that can bring her to America under the Chinese Exclusion Act. What I really like is the historical fiction part of this book. History has not been kind about the Chinese survivors of the Titanic, often describing them as cowards and vilifying them. While all the other survivors were welcomed into America, the Chinese survivors were shipped off under the Chinese Exclusion Act, which is also part of the reason we know nothing about them. The premise of the story is very interesting as Valora disguises herself as a first-class passenger, while at the same time dressing as a boy to perform as an acrobat together with her brother. However, I felt that the story was somewhat dragged out, especially in the middle, while the ending was very abrupt. I think that if the ending elaborated more on how everyone ended up it would have rounded the story off better. In conclusion, I think Lee does a very good job with this story as a tribute to the actual Chinese passengers whose stories were erased from history. However, the story itself was not very exciting and felt rather two-dimensional which was a shame because it did have a lot of potential for more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    Really enjoyed reading this! Like many children of the 90s I feel like I know a lot about the Titanic experience but seeing it from the POV of a smart, class-shifting, biracial circus performer was definitely new. I appreciated the author's notes about the 8 known Chinese people who were on board the real Titanic, and I liked that this book didn't dwell too much on stuff most readers will already know about Titanic. Oh I loved the inclusion of a cool rich lesbian character! Always lovely to remi Really enjoyed reading this! Like many children of the 90s I feel like I know a lot about the Titanic experience but seeing it from the POV of a smart, class-shifting, biracial circus performer was definitely new. I appreciated the author's notes about the 8 known Chinese people who were on board the real Titanic, and I liked that this book didn't dwell too much on stuff most readers will already know about Titanic. Oh I loved the inclusion of a cool rich lesbian character! Always lovely to remind readers that LGBTQ+ people have always existed. This is a great historical adventure story for Titanic fans (and who isn't a Titanic fan?)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    It’s been a while since I read a story set on the Titanic. (The last I can recall was when I was a child, and I can’t even remember the title). I’ve always found myself drawn to and interested in this tragic event, and it was really cool to see how Stacey Lee told a story that felt like it fit right in with the existing knowledge I had of it. As always, her ability to center the story on an Asian character (or in this case, characters) and open up a brand new perspective was on point.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    I am pretending that ending doesn't exist...otherwise I really enjoyed this! My full review will be up on BookBrowse soon! I am pretending that ending doesn't exist...otherwise I really enjoyed this! My full review will be up on BookBrowse soon!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joleen (starlightbooktales)

    4 stars Going into The Luck of the Titanic was bittersweet. Knowing a lot of the history of Titanic, I know going into this that the chance of a happy ending was slim to none. But Rachael over at @rqdreads raved about it so much that I knew I had to read it. And I am really happy I did, even if I did cry a lot. Valora Luck was impossible not to love. Right from the start, she smuggled herself onto the Titanic so she could have a better shot at achieving her dreams. She has the kind of courage I 4 stars Going into The Luck of the Titanic was bittersweet. Knowing a lot of the history of Titanic, I know going into this that the chance of a happy ending was slim to none. But Rachael over at @rqdreads raved about it so much that I knew I had to read it. And I am really happy I did, even if I did cry a lot. Valora Luck was impossible not to love. Right from the start, she smuggled herself onto the Titanic so she could have a better shot at achieving her dreams. She has the kind of courage I wish I had. Jamie was the sweetest and I loved him so much. You know with a story like The Luck of the Titanic, I was not expecting it to be so funny. The laughs I had while reading this were amazing. The interactions with Val, Jamie, Bo, and the other characters were my favorite parts. It was just refreshing to see a wonderful group of individuals deeply care for each other. 10/10 would recommend!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Stacey Lee has become one of my favorite authors. She creates characters I love to root for. I enjoyed this warm-hearted page-turner. And that ending--so touching.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Kathryn Wright

    There was so many beautiful things about this book like the cover, writing, and characters. The writing was so good for all the emotion it held especially at the end, I really felt for the characters. The characters were all very likable but I didn’t really connect with them until the end which I am not sure why. They were all distinct and enjoyable, but I bet that when I reread this I will enjoy it a lot more. Part of my not connecting with the characters might have to do with the plot, for I w There was so many beautiful things about this book like the cover, writing, and characters. The writing was so good for all the emotion it held especially at the end, I really felt for the characters. The characters were all very likable but I didn’t really connect with them until the end which I am not sure why. They were all distinct and enjoyable, but I bet that when I reread this I will enjoy it a lot more. Part of my not connecting with the characters might have to do with the plot, for I wasn’t always engaged in it. Another thing I really liked about this book was that it didn’t focus a lot on romantic relationships but those of family, mostly siblings, the twins Valora and Jamie. Overall, I loved this story and I personally enjoy this story more than I did the movie Titanic.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)

    The cover is stunning. I couldn’t have chosen a better one for this book! 😍 I’m a sucker for anything to do with Titanic which is ironic because I can’t stand sad endings. I know, I’m strange. When I saw this on Amazon, I clicked buy now so fast it wasn’t even funny. The book is very character driven, which I adore! But I wasn’t the biggest fan of our MC. She seemed a little selfish, just wanting her brother, James, to drop everything and go with her plan. But she grew on me and James grew on me The cover is stunning. I couldn’t have chosen a better one for this book! 😍 I’m a sucker for anything to do with Titanic which is ironic because I can’t stand sad endings. I know, I’m strange. When I saw this on Amazon, I clicked buy now so fast it wasn’t even funny. The book is very character driven, which I adore! But I wasn’t the biggest fan of our MC. She seemed a little selfish, just wanting her brother, James, to drop everything and go with her plan. But she grew on me and James grew on me even more. He was my favorite character from this book. There was even some romance, which I live for. I really don’t like books that have no romance. It wasn’t the best but that’s not the point of this book. It was the sibling relationship and it was done wonderfully. So… I’ve praised this book so far mostly, why two stars? I hate sad endings. Absolutely abhor them. My life is dark and depressing, I read to escape that and this book didn’t let me. I suppose this is all my fault, I mean, it is a story about the Titanic but I had hope of a nice little ending for the fictional characters. Oh well.

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