Everyone knows the story. An iceberg. A boat. 1,500 lives lost. This is the story that one hundred years later (April 2012 marks the centennial of the sinking) so fascinates that it's difficult to keep Titanic books on library shelves. It's one of those nonfiction sections every Children's Librarian can just walk to, like dinosaurs and cars. And yeah, there was that movie.
But this book manages to do something completely different with that story. A novel in verse, but beautiful verse. 25 first-person points of view, each startlingly unique, each convincing, each wrenching. Some of the voices are pure poetry--the iceberg, the rats, and some have just enough poetry in them to sound natural, but gorgeous. In Wolf's hands, even telegraphs are lyrical. And look, I don't notice things like font (unless it's ridiculous) or page layouts, but I am blown away by the beautiful typesetting of this book. See especially: rats, Thomas Andrews's final pages.
I cried, as you do. Not because I was surprised, because how could I be surprised? But because I was so touched by these characters, these real names backed by real research and painted with fictional words, guessed at motivations. I loved them, each of them.
This is not a book that one gets over.