Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Luck of the Titanic

by Stacey Lee

From the New York Times bestselling 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.

Reviewed by Angie on

4 of 5 stars


Proceed With Caution:

This book contains racism, death, and a mass tragedy.

The Basics:

Luck of the Titanic follows seventeen-year-old acrobat, Valora Luck,  on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. She hopes to find her brother who is working on the ship and convince him to go to New York with her to join the Ringling Bother's Circus. As we know, this isn't going to be an easy trip.

My Thoughts:

Luck of the Titanic started off really strong! I loved getting to know Valora! We get to see all of her talents from the get go as she has trouble boarding the ship with a valid ticket just because she's Chinese. Well, she doesn't let that stop her. She uses her street smarts and her acrobatic talents to make her way onto the luxury liner. From there she must pretend to be a first-class passenger (which she technically is) and a third-class boy. Fun times ahead! At least for a little while.

It was great to get the story of the Titanic from a different perspective. We're all familiar with the tales of the first-class white passengers, but now we get to see what things may have been like for the Chinese aboard. Valora does have it easier as she gets to spend half her time tucked away in her employer's cabin, but for her brother and the other boys, it's a completely different world. Even trying to get onto a lifeboat after the iceberg collision took on a whole new air.

Luck of the Titanic did start to lose me about two-thirds in. Does every Titanic story need to have a main character locked away below deck just to be broken out later? Also, how many times is Valora going to give up her seat in a lifeboat?! She didn't come across as that self-sacrificing earlier in the book. It just felt like forced added tension. However, it won me back when Valora and Jamie started using their acrobat skills to get off the ship. Nothing too flashy as to be unbelievable, but it was an interesting twist.

That ending though? What?! I can honestly say I did not see the final page of Luck of the Titanic coming. I was truly shocked and had to read it twice to make sure I was reading what was actually on the page. Whoa.

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Reading updates

  • 5 May, 2021: Started reading
  • 6 May, 2021: on page 0 out of 384 0%
  • 6 May, 2021: Finished reading
  • 16 May, 2021: Reviewed