Book Review: Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Good morning! Back to our regularly scheduled time! I hope everyone is having an incredible Friday! You’ve made it through another week! This week we’ve had a whirlwind of news in our home. I got extended a job offer, for my old, pre-covid job. Which is kind of crazy to me! I am really anxious and concerned about the activity of my blog when the time comes. But I love doing this so much, I know I shouldn’t be. I know I’ll find time to blog and read. The good news is I’ll be driving a lot, so it is audiobook central time very soon for me! That’s all the news I have for today, so without further ado, please enjoy my review of Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee!

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Title: Luck of the Titanic
Author: Stacey Lee
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & Sons
Publication date: May 4, 2021
Genre: Historical fiction, YA fiction,

The Titanic maiden voyage story that you have been waiting for

At a glance: Valora Luck has big dreams of running away to America and starting a new life. She sneaks onto the Titanic maiden voyage to reunite with her brother and figure out a plan to be allowed entry during the Chinese Exclusion Act. But we’ve all heard stories of the Titanic…

  • πŸ“œ Historical Fiction
  • 🌏 East Asian Rep
  • 😭 Emotional
  • 🌳 Family Focused

Read this if… you love historical fiction, you want to see more diversity in historical fiction, spunky characters, with a sweet sibling relationship. A fresh new spin on a Titanic story.

Diversity Representation: British-Chinese cast, biracial (Chinese-white) MC

Content Warnings: Racism, death of a loved one, use of slurs, sexual assault

❗ ❗ Buddy read alert ❗ ❗ I read this book with Saima (check out Stories with Saima) too! It was funny how it happened, we were both reading The Forest of Stolen Girls together (check out my review, and her review)! After we were done, we wanted to read together again, and she suggested Luck of the Titanic, which I had literally started the day before! It was perfect! Thanks for reading with me, Saima!

Book Review

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!

I also loved Valora. It’s not often that one of my favorite things about a book is one specific character, and not “the growth of all the characters” or “the friendships between so and so” but this one was really nice. I loved how Val never let the obvious racism get her down. I loved how she was spunky and positive. I loved how much she loves her brother, and cares for others. She has outrageous ideas, but it’s because she will do anything for the people she loves. I definitely loved her!

Background Knowledge: The Chinese Exclusion Act

Okay, I lied about my favorite part being that we were kept on our toes. The best part was seeing myself in a story I never imagined people who look like me would be in. Ever. Absolutely incredible.

Before reading this book, I highly recommend reading up on the history of anti-Asian racism in America and probably in England as well. The Chinese Exclusion Act is the only United States law to prohibit immigration and naturalization based on race. It restricted Chinese people from entering the US for 60 years, and through snowballing events, nearly all Asian people were denied entry and naturalization into the US until 1952. Only 71 years ago. My white grandpa was born into a country where people who look like me were not allowed entry or to be citizens. The Titanic made it’s maiden voyage to America during these 60 years, so it is even more incredible to read about the six survivors of Chinese descent. This is a really short overview, but I highly recommend reading up on it. Here are some articles to get your research started:

But don’t stop here. Keep reading. Learn and grow.

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Summing it all up

Luck of the Titanic was the story of the Titanic I’ve always dreamed up, but never knew I’d be able to know. It was a fun read that kept me guessing even though it was about an event that we all know how it ends. A wonderful read!

About Stacey Lee

Stacey Lee is the New York Times bestselling author and award-winning author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction, including UNDER A PAINTED SKY, OUTRUN THE MOON, winner of the 2017 Pen Center Award for Young Adult Fiction and the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association YA Book of the Year, THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE, which sold in eight countries,  THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL, which is a New York Times bestseller and received five starred reviews, and her most recent THE LUCK OF THE TITANIC which also received five starred reviews in which School Library Journal said β€œWith a compassionate, strong heroine and a diverse cast, this is an exciting, important retelling of the Titanic tragedy..”  Her books have been selected for the Amelia Bloomer list for feminist fiction, the as well as the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults List, and the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.  A native of southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she is a founder of the We Need Diverse Books movement and writes stories for all kids (even the ones who look like adults). Find her @staceyleeauthor on Instagram and Twitter.


Let’s Chat!

✨ Are you a fan of historical fiction?
✨ Have you read any of Stacey Lee’s other books?
✨ Are you as obsessed with the cover of this one as I am?

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Looking for more diverse reads?

Check out the rest of my blog! I’m dedicated to sharing books with you that include diversity, so feel comfortable that any books on Bookish Brews will include some diversity.

If you liked this review, or thought you might like this book, check out some of my other reviews for books with more YA books with East or Southeast Asian representation:


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The story of the British-Chinese passengers on the Titanic? Wow, this book looks great!