A Million to One

HarperCollins. Dec. 2022. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062916327.
Gr 8 Up–An ordinary boardinghouse in Dublin hides four extraordinary young women. And while they end up on the Titanic, this diverse crew is the real star of the show: Josefa, an Irish petty thief and mastermind of the heist to steal the Rubaiyat once aboard; Violet, a Croatian actress working to reunite with her brother but unwilling to return home; Hinnah, an Indian acrobat eager to leave the circus for a new adventure; and Emilie, a French Haitian artist who recently lost her father and her life of luxury, whose doubts about the heist are suppressed by her desire to meet her family in Haiti and her growing attraction to Josefa. Heart-pounding tension and pure adrenaline-fueled fun, along with an urgent countdown in the chapter headings, keep this heist novel on its toes, as accidental setbacks and unexpected faces in the second half force the plan to change, sometimes literally, in midair. It is particularly rewarding and refreshing to see the girls, through multiple-POV narration, actively work through those changes, and work to understand one another and their differences. Even as they grapple with motives, mistakes, and secrets within their own crew, the four also grapple with obstacles from the outside world: sexism, racism, parental abuse, parental loss, and being underestimated and taken advantage of for those reasons and many others.
VERDICT Dramatic, moving, and energetic, this diverse historical novel about found family and choices at the end of the world is a YA must-have from the author of Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating.

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