Four young stowaways — illegal passengers, below even the 3rd class — find themselves on the R.M.S. Titanic, the grandest ocean liner in the world on her maiden voyage. At first unknown to each other, hailing from four different countries, they begin to learn about each others’ pasts as they bide their time in the bowels of the ship, united in their hopes of making a new life in America. When disaster strikes, what will become of them? Who, if any, will be able to escape the epic tragedy Walter Lord described as ‘the death of a small town’?
Release Date: April 15, 2013
Age Group: YA (I think?)
Source: Review copy from author
I love historical fiction, and also really enjoy stories about the Titanic, so I was excited to read Laughton Chandler's novella, Last Off. Last Off is about four young teen boys who are stowaways on the Titanic.
Hugh seemed to be the main character (in my opinion), but the reader gets to know all four boys fairly well. I appreciated the boys' unique histories, and enjoyed reading about how each came to be a stowaway on the Titanic. I liked the characters , and found myself quite invested in the outcome of the story.
Last Off is a good length for a novella: it took me just over an hour to read it, and I have no complaints about the length of the book. I usually bemoan the brevity of most novellas, but I was completely satisfied with this story. Chandler made the story just the right length. Last Off has quite a detailed plot which was full of emotion.
While I found myself irrationally wishing for a happy ending (all the while knowing how a story about the Titanic was bound to end), I thought the ending to Last Off was perfectly suited to the story. Anything else would have felt inauthentic.
I liked the twist about the actual sinking of the ship. I was taken by surprise (I love it when that happens) and thought Chandler's handling of that subject made the story quite interesting.
My one complaint about Last Off is that I felt sort of disconnected from the characters. I think this is mainly due to the fact that the book is a third-person narrative. I always find myself not as connected with the characters when reading a third-person POV.
Overall, I did really enjoy Last Off and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction and people who are interested in reading about the Titanic.