________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 4. . . .September 23, 2011


Titanic: Book Two: Collision Course.

Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2011.
166 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-12332-7.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

**** /4



Terrified, Alfie spun on his heel. The figure was so close that it took a moment for him to focus and recognize who was standing there.

"Paddy!" he wheezed.

The young stowaway was bent over double with laughter. "If only you could have seen the look upon your face!"

"You fool! I might have done you a serious injury!"

Paddy, who had survived a year on the streets of Belfast, was unperturbed. "How does your being frightened harm me?"

"Don't be cute!" Alfie rasped. "I could have screamed my head off and brought half the crew down on us. What are you doing here, anyway? I thought we agreed you were going to hide in steerage."

"I can't stay there anymore," Paddy replied. "Their stewards can count, same as in first and second class. One of them remembered how many sons Mrs. Rankin came aboard with. She wasn't inclined to part with one of her own, you see. So here I am. A long story, it is, but Miss Fancy Pants sent me down to wait for you." He flashed Alfie a cheeky grin. "You needn't bother with the hatboxes."


Collision Course is the second book in the "Titanic" trilogy. The story picks up on April 12, 1912, where Unsinkable, the first book, ended and continues until April 15, 1912, when the ship hits the iceberg and begins to fill with water. Fourteen year-old Paddy Burns is a pickpocket from Ireland, but he's on board the Titanic to deliver important papers to the ship's designer. To do this, he needs to stay out of trouble and out of sight. He's a stowaway on board, and, if he's caught, he will be sharing a jail cell with two gangsters who want to kill him. Juliana Glamm is not enjoying the luxuries of first class because her father's behavior is embarrassing her. His nights of drinking and gambling have become unmanageable. She also discovers the reason her father brought her on this trip was to have her marry the son of a business associate. The secondary plot, involving a passenger with a criminal background, intensifies as Alfie Huggins identifies the man whom he believes is Jack the Ripper. Sophie Bronson, who was once humiliated by her mom, the famous suffragist, begins to admire and feel proud of her mom's views. Sophie works with her mom to help Juliana confront her father about the plans he has for her marriage. The friendships that started to form in the first book grow stronger in this second book. The four friends show their loyalty towards one another by taking risks and keeping each other's secrets. Alfie endangers his own life for Sophie when she is attacked by Jack the Ripper, and when Paddy is eventually caught by the crew, he doesn't tell them who was helping him hide. Different areas of the ship are featured in this story as the characters attend a dance on the lower deck, and Alfie is asked to go to the wireless room to deliver an important message to the Captain about the conditions ahead. By the end of the book, many of the characters reveal heroic qualities that will likely help them survive the sinking of the Titanic. Collision Course has a fast-moving plot, one that will appeal to boys as well as girls.


Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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