Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar
Published by HarperCollins on December 13, 2022
Genres: Historical, LGBTQ, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (367 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads
Adiba Jaigirdar, author of one of Time‘s Best YA books of all time, gives Titanic an Ocean’s 8 makeover in a heist for a treasure aboard the infamous ship that sank in the Atlantic many years ago.
A thief. An artist. A acrobat. An actress. While Josefa, Emilie, Hinnah, and Violet seemingly don’t have anything in common, they’re united in one goal: stealing the Rubaiyat, a jewel-encrusted book aboard the RMS Titanic that just might be the golden ticket to solving their problems.
But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they’ve worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes. While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer . . .
I am obsessed with Titanic (the movie), so I naturally gravitate toward any book set on the tragic voyage. A Million to One seemed especially awesome with its all girl cast, diversity, and sapphic romance. While I enjoyed it, and flew through it during two sittings, I did have some issues with it.
A Million to One is narrated by four teenage girls leaving Dublin for New York to start new lives. Josefa is a thief and becomes the leader of the group when she presents the ultimate heist to her friends. Violet just wants to make a better life for her little brother stuck in Croatia. Emelie is orphaned and wants to track down her mother’s family in Haiti. And Hinnah wants a better life away from the circus. While I liked all four girls, none of them particularly stood out to me. The third person narration made it easy to know who we were following, but I couldn’t help but feel like an omniscient narrator would have been more effective.
The plot was a lot of fun. Or as fun as it could be knowing that the ship is going to sink, which never fails to stress me the heck out. Josefa wants to steal a precious book of poetry encrusted in jewels that is being transported on the Titanic. She assigns each girl a role in their heist and promises that everything will be fine and that they’ll have enough money to start new lives. It was exciting at first watching these girls take risks and weasel their way into high society. Of course, there has to be trouble along the way, and not just the ship going down.
My first issue with A Million to One was a couple of plot holes. That trouble I mentioned? The girls immediately look suspicious to the Matron on their floor, so obviously she makes some accusations, causing the girls’ room to be searched. Well, wouldn’t they have found all of the girls plans, including the replica of the book that they made to replace the real thing? That is never even mentioned. Did all of their things just poof into thin air?!
After that, the girls go to carry out their mission, and frame someone else to buy themselves some time. Well, the person they accuse, is never detained and questioned. Somehow he’s free to run the ship looking for them, while all of the officers are also looking for them. If that book was so expensive and precious, shouldn’t they have held him for a least a little while to question him since the evidence points towards him. Of course, he would blame the girls, but he could have been lying. It just bothered me. But I understood that he needed to be loose to up the tension with the girls.
When Titanic starts going down, I could feel my heartbeat speed up and my breathing getting shallow. These girls are not just in trouble with the law, but in real physical danger. I never knew who was going to survive, if they were even going to get the payout at the end. However, I was taken out of the story since several of the story beats were straight out of the movie. Yes, Titanic is in my top ten movies of all time, but that doesn’t mean I want to read it with character swaps.
Overall, I did really enjoy A Million to One despite its issues. It has a bitter sweet ending, which is more than I can say for the movie or the real life events.
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