“A Million to One” by Adiba Jaigirdar (Review)

Jaigirdar, Adiba. A Million to One. New York: HarperTeen, 2023. 

ISBN-13: 978-0062916327 | $17.99 USD | 362 pages | YA Historical Fiction


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.


4 stars 

When I saw that Adiba Jaigirdar was working on a sapphic heist novel set on the Titanic, I knew I had to read it. A Million to One ultimately ended up being exactly what  I expected and more, delivering on the fun heist vibes, while simultaneously  honoring some aspects of the tragedy that aren’t as well known. 

While the Irish presence is subtly remarked upon in some of the dominant narratives about the Titanic, I like that this book made it one of its central focuses, along with highlighting some of the racial diversity. This isn’t the first book I’ve read to highlight these things, but the more people talk about them or write stories inspired by them, the more people will be inspired to look into these people and past the more dominant stories of well-known passengers, who have already had their stories told. 

The heist element, while initially seeming a bit unlikely, also highlights the real treasures that were on board that ended up lost in the wreckage. While it is fictionalized, the Rubaiyat was a real priceless artifact, and I enjoyed learning a bit about it. 

With the strong heist focus for the majority of the book, and then the intensity of the sinking, there’s a strong plot focus. In terms of characters, as a result, the focus is on the group and how they work as a unit, as opposed to defining each of them as individuals. So, if you’re a character driven reader, this likely won’t work for you. However, while I can’t say any of these characters stood out to me, the stakes were high, and the outcome was sad for what it meant for their friendship. 

This book is a lot of fun, and I hope Adiba Jaigirdar writes more books in a similar vein. If you’re a fan of the Titanic or heist stories where the heist is actually prominent, I recommend checking this out!

Author Bio

Adiba Jaigirdar is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed and bestselling author of The Henna Wars, Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating, and A Million to One. A Bangladeshi/Irish writer and former teacher, she has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland. She is the winner of the YA book prize 2022, the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2021, and was a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary awards. All of her writing is aided by tea, and a healthy dose of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. When not writing, she is probably ranting about the ills of colonialism, playing video games, or expanding her overflowing lipstick collection. She can be found at https://adibajaigirdar.com/ or @adiba_j on Twitter and @dibs_j on Instagram.

Buy links

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Barnes &  Noble


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