Tag Archives: diverse cast

Review: A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

A Million to One
Adiba Jaigirdar
Published December 13, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About A Million to One

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 . . .

Perfect for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Girl in the Blue Coat, this high-seas heist from the author of The Henna Wars is an immersive story that makes readers forget one important detail— the ship sinks.

My Review

I think my two favorite things about this book are that it’s an all-female heist and that it’s a diverse cast. The heist is carried out by four women, each with a special talent. Emilie, the forger, is Haitian and French and has romantic feelings for another woman. Hinnah is Indian and an immigrant to Ireland. She’s also an acrobat. Violet has an uncanny ability to charm her way into anything she wants. Josefa, the strategist, is hoping to help her younger brother escape an orphanage in Croatia through this job’s success.

Though at times I felt like the historical details were slim, I often lost myself in the descriptions of the Titanic. I loved the way the author described the opulence of the vessel juxtaposed against the unfolding disaster as the ship began to sink.

I also really enjoyed each of the main characters’ points of view. Each one felt specific and unique. It seemed like the chapters just flew past as I was reading, too. I read almost this whole book in a single day, which isn’t usual for me these days.

On the whole, I super enjoyed the intersection of all the elements in A MILLION TO ONE. I would love to see more historical stories like this.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Josefa is Croatian and likes women romantically. Hinnah is Indian and estranged from her family. Emilie is Haitian and French and interested in women romantically.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two women.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Situations of peril. A man pulls a knife on the girls. He holds one at knifepoint. A man with a knife pursues Josefa and the others. The ship sinks. Vague references to people drowning or having drowned.

Drug Content
Passengers drink alcohol with dinner. One character gets a bit tipsy.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of A MILLION TO ONE in exchange for my honest review.

Review: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
Jamie Pacton
Page Street Kids
Published on May 5, 2020

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly

Kit Sweetly slays sexism, bad bosses, and bad luck to become a knight at a medieval-themed restaurant.

Working as a wench―i.e. waitress―at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.

Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.

My Review

Oh. My. Gosh. This book! I love so many thing about THIS BOOK. I don’t even know where to start.

First off, the narrator, Kit, has this fantastic voice. She’s funny, awkward, determined and smart and I adored her from page one. Her friends and family members all stood out as distinct characters. I often get side characters mixed up, but I did not have that trouble here because they were all so memorable and different from each other.

You don’t have to read very far into the cover copy to guess that a theme of the story is feminism and gender roles. I was a little worried that that would dominate the story, but actually, I felt like it was integrated really well with the characters and other plot elements.

I also loved that Kit goes a lot broader than simply looking for female rights to work as Knight characters (a higher paying role) at her job. She quickly realizes that others– specifically her transgender and nonbinary friends– are also barred from applying for that position. So I thought it was cool that the story included a wider push for equal rights rather than falling into the sort of cliché story about a girl wanting to do something she’s been told she can’t do. It reminds us that those sorts of “men only” roles leave out more than women. I thought that was a great point and loved the inclusivity of the story in this way.

Another thing that I thought was well-balanced in the book with these elements was Kit’s relationships with her family and friends. She’s kind of an avoider, so her emotional journey involved some situations where things implode because she’s put off something important– from math homework to confrontation with a parent. She has to learn to live in balance, and I loved being on that journey with her, celebrating her victories and laughing or crying right there with her.

So, yes. If you need an uplifting story that will make you laugh and warm your heart, just go get this book right now. (Check the content notes– there’s some swearing and drinking, so know that’s there.)

I think the book is amazing, and I love it and can’t wait to read it all over again. Also I want more heroines like Kit Sweetly in my life immediately.

If you liked THIS ADVENTURE ENDS by Emma Mills or THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU by Lily Anderson, then I predict you’ll enjoy THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY, too!

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Kit’s best friend is black. She also works with someone who is nonbinary (and uses they/them pronouns), and a transgender woman.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief kissing between boy and girl. Brief/vague reference to sex.

Spiritual Content
Kit’s dad works as a musician for a large church but is himself something of a con.

Violent Content
Some descriptions of jousting as a part of a medieval show. One worker falls from a horse and is seriously injured.

Drug Content
Scenes show teens drinking alcohol. A drunk adult tries to get children into the car with him, but they refuse. Some references and brief descriptions of drug use.

Note: I received a free copy of THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.