A gem from start to bittersweet finish.

Seventeen-year-old Valora Luck boards the Titanicin search of her twin brother—and destiny.

As children, Val and Jamie performed acrobatics to bring in money during lean times, dreaming of one day becoming circus stars. But after their White British mother’s death, Jamie left to work for the Atlantic Steam Company while Val stayed in London to care for their Chinese father. Now, with both parents gone, Val is determined to find what’s left of her family and forge a new path in America. There is, of course, the Chinese Exclusion Act to contend with, but Val is confident that she and Jamie can convince one of the ship’s passengers, a part owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus, to hire them and bring them into the country. Unexpected allies provide help along the way, including an American couture designer and Jamie’s fellow Chinese steamship workers. Issues of racial and class discrimination are seamlessly woven into the story as Val’s adventure takes her through the Titanic’s various decks, from a first-class suite to the boiler rooms. Her wit and pluck give the story such buoyancy that when tragedy strikes, it almost comes as a surprise. Anticipation of the inevitable adds a layer of tension to the narrative, especially with a sober note prefacing the book that informs readers, “Of the eight Chinese passengers aboard the Titanic, six survived.”

A gem from start to bittersweet finish. (Titanic diagram, list of characters, author's notes) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4098-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021


From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021


From the Foul Lady Fortune series , Vol. 2

An impressive, albeit stuffed, conclusion to the duology.

Several months after losing Orion to Lady Hong in Foul Lady Fortune (2022), Rosalind Lang sets out to save her kidnapped partner.

Since the confrontation at Warehouse 34, a heartbroken Rosalind has remained sequestered in her apartment to avoid reporters who want a glimpse of the Nationalist assassin Fortune. When the Nationalists refuse to rescue Orion and reveal plans to decommission Rosalind, she volunteers to tour the country, using her fame to boost Chinese morale in the face of Japanese military aggression. Rosalind’s true motive, however, is to lure out Lady Hong and Orion, and she sets herself as bait by claiming to possess Lady Hong’s final vial of a serum that creates invincible supersoldiers. As soon as the Communists discern Rosalind’s plan, they assign Celia Lang and Oliver Hong to follow Rosalind and capture Orion for their own cause. Meanwhile, Nationalist triple agent Silas Wu continues his single-minded pursuit of the enigmatic Communist sharpshooter Priest, unaware that Priest is actually Phoebe Hong, who is equally determined to maintain her facade as merely Orion and Oliver’s younger sister. Conflicting loyalties and long-held secrets put characters to the test in this packed but nonetheless fast-paced sequel, which is told by the main cast in third-person narration. With the stakes higher than ever, they must carefully choose whom to trust as they race against time to save their friends, family, and country.

An impressive, albeit stuffed, conclusion to the duology. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781665905619

Page Count: 560

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

Close Quickview