Twelve-year-old Kevin, the class clown, may be fascinated by the Titanic disaster, but he doesn’t expect to go back in time and live through the shipwreck.
Some chapters of this successful introduction to the famous disaster for middle graders take readers to 1912, when 17-year-old Angus Seaton works on a boat out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sent to pick up the floating bodies from the Titanic, Angus pulls a dead girl from the water and pockets her little purse. He intends to return it to the body but forgets about it for too long. Later her ghost haunts him, crying for her lost baby. When modern-day Kevin’s family inherits Seaton’s house, Kevin finds the purse and, with it, the ghost. Eventually Kevin finds himself actually on board the sinking Titanic, rushing to find the girl to set her spirit free. Lawson creates a believable class cut-up in Kevin and keeps the narrative moving along whether following Kevin or Angus. Readers see Kevin making poor decisions, but they will also sympathize and like the boy as he chases his obsession with the doomed ocean liner. Although the tone seems light, the events lead to thrilling suspense. Kevin’s trip back to the sinking ship places readers at the scene.
An exciting and capable introduction to the always-fascinating tale. (Paranormal suspense. 8-12)