13 new YA releases that belong on your May reading list

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books /
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Luck of the Titanic May book cover
Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

May 2021 release: Luck of the Titanic – Stacey Lee

The latest YA historical novel from author Stacey Lee, who brought us last year’s The Downstairs GirlLuck of the Titanic follows the story of seventeen-year-old Valora Luck, who boards the infamous H.M.S. Titanic in order to reunite with her twin brother and finds destiny along the way.

As the book points out to you in its preface, the real Titanic carried eight Chinese passengers. Six of them survived the voyage. Which should tell you right away that this is going to be a story with a distinctly bittersweet tinge. Luck of the Titanic follows the story of two British-Chinese siblings who look to make a future in America following the death of their parents. Their only way into the U.S. is to convince the owner of a circus to give them jobs based on their acrobat pasts. Jamie’s not convinced this is a future they should be chasing – they haven’t even seen one another for the better part of a decade – but Val’s determined to convince him otherwise.

But when the magical ship starts sinking, all anyone wants is to survive.

The official synopsis describes the story as follows.

"Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive."

Luck of the Titanic is available on May 4.