Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's All Been Done Before

Published: March 27th, 2012 (Originallly Published: May 22nd, 1998)
Titanic: The Long Night
Open Road Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9781453248188

Two teenagers discover true love aboard the doomed ocean liner
Elizabeth Farr never wanted to return to America. During her family’s vacation abroad, she has fallen in love with England, and is despondent when her father refuses to let her stay. Returning to New York means having her debut into society, and that means a swiftly arranged marriage. Elizabeth will never go to college, never learn to be a reporter—as she sees it, her life is over as soon as the Titanic reaches port. Of course, if she’s unlucky, her life will be over far sooner than that. As Elizabeth and her family settle into their first-class cabins, Katie Hanrahan, a young Irish girl with dreams of finding fortune in America, makes her way to a steerage berth. Both girls have plans for the future, but love and death are about to intervene. 

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Diane Hoh including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.


   Elizabeth Farr is an heiress who has never wanted for anything in her life - except the freedom to make her own decisions.  Now she is stuck on the Titanic with her parents, who plan on marrying her off to a man she doesn't love when they reach America again and refuse to listen to her pleas for a college education.  Elizabeth is prepared to spend most of the voyage in arguments and misery, but then she meets fellow passenger Max Whittaker, who is dressed like a third-class passenger, but comes from her own level of society.  He has been studying art in Paris against his family's wishes and plans to return to New York and study some more, without the support of the family money.  Elizabeth is intrigued by him and the life he's made for himself, by striking out without his family's support.  Although her Mother tries to separate them at every opportunity, she finds herself falling in love with him slowly, as much as she is infuriated by him.  Third-class passenger Katie Hanrahan is a young Irish girl, with dreams of becoming a famous singer in the big cities of America.  Traveling alongside her are brothers Patrick "Paddy" and Brian Kelleher, who respectively dream of being a writer and going west to own their own land.  The three young people have a complicated relationship, with Paddy assuming romance between Katie and Brian, but Katie falling in love with Paddy and Brian befriending a Dutch girl on board.  As both girls struggle to figure out what they will do with their lives once they reach the shores of America, everything around them changes in an instant.  When tragedy befalls the Titanic, who will survive and who will be consigned to a watery grave?  This book had me intrigued, because of the fact that it is actually is a republication of a novel written in the late '90s.  I have been meaning to read it and I finally managed to get around to it.  This was a book with some decently written characters, but I found myself annoyed at the cliched approach to the disaster, with a split narrative focused on a first class girl and a third class girl.  I was happy that it wasn't one of those horrid, cross-class romances that seem to pop-up constantly for the Titanic (I support intra-class romance, but it is unlikely it happened quite as much as portrayed).  I found Elizabeth annoying in her bratty approach to getting her parents to see her side of things and her complete indecision about breaking away.  Max came across as a smug, arrogant jerk with occasional moments of nicety.  Katie was a well drawn character and I loved the fact that she wasn't afraid to speak her mind, especially when the first class passengers toured third class and gawked like it was a zoo.  I enjoyed the fact that a majority of this book focused on the panic, frantic action and overall sadness of the disaster itself - as it was happening.  But one thing that TRULY irked me into leaving off a star and a half (at least) was the fact that four out of five of the main teen characters survived.  How likely is that?  Not very and it really bugged me a lot, during and afterwards.  Overall a decent novel, but not one I would recommend to anyone who will be bothered by the unrealistic survival rate of the characters.

VERDICT:  3.25/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published March 27th, 2012.*

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