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The Downstairs Girl (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Could there be a better young adult historical fiction storyteller than Stacey Lee? The Downstairs Girl rings with honesty about the plight of Jo Kwan, living in Atlanta in 1890 in an abandoned basement below an unsuspecting family that runs one of the town's newspapers. Jo becomes the unseen advice columnist "Dear Miss Sweetie" as she uses her considerable wit to answer letters - all the while working as a maid to a privileged and cruel teen. Romance, racial inequities and family squabbles all result in Lee's outstanding development into a glimpse of Atlanta's storied genteelness. This is a sure winner! - Maureen

— From Staff Picks by Maureen

Description


From the critically-acclaimed author of Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon and founding member of We Need Diverse Books comes a powerful novel about identity, betrayal, and the meaning of family.

"A triumph of storytelling. A bold portrait of this country's past, brilliantly painted with wit, heartbreak, and unflinching honesty. Everyone needs to read this book." --Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta's most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.

"A jewel of a story. By shining a light on the lives of those whom history usually ignores, Stacey Lee gives us a marvelous gift: An entirely new and riveting look at our past." -Candace Fleming, award-winning author of The Family Romanov

"Clever, funny, and poignant, The Downstairs Girl is Stacey Lee at her best." --Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Crown's Game

"Immersive, important, and thoroughly entertaining, The Downstairs Girl sparkles with all of Stacey Lee's signature humor, charm, warmth, and wisdom." --Kelly Loy Gilbert, Morris Award Finalist for Conviction

About the Author


Stacey Lee is the critically acclaimed author of the novels Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon, the winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. She is a fourth-generation Chinese American and a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Born in Southern California, she graduated from UCLA and then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. She lives with her family outside San Francisco. You can visit Stacey at staceyhlee.com. Or follow her on Twitter @staceyleeauthor.

Praise For…


“A triumph of storytelling. The Downstairs Girl is a bold portrait of this country’s past, brilliantly painted with wit, heartbreak, and unflinching honesty. Everyone needs to read this book.” —Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

“In this jewel of a story, Stacey Lee brings to life a distant time populated by people who are at once familiar and delightfully new. By shining a light on the lives of those whom history usually ignores, Lee gives us a marvelous gift: An entirely new and riveting look at our past." —Candace Fleming, award-winning author of The Family Romanov
 
“Clever, funny, and poignant, The Downstairs Girl is Stacey Lee at her best. I adored the cast of sassy, brave characters, as well as Lee’s subtle and graceful look at racism in the Reconstruction-era South. Every school and library should have this book on their shelves.” —Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Crown’s Game 

The Downstairs Girl is a thoughtful, imaginative and surprising look at a period of American history that feels both distant and all too close. Jo is a sharp and compelling narrator, and I could’ve stayed forever in her downstairs hideout, watching the world through her eyes. Immersive, important, and thoroughly entertaining, The Downstairs Girl  sparkles with all of Stacey Lee’s signature humor, charm, warmth, and wisdom.” —Kelly Loy Gilbert, Morris Award Finalist for Conviction


Product Details
ISBN: 9781524740955
ISBN-10: 1524740950
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 13th, 2019
Pages: 384
Language: English

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A well-balanced book that shows one young Chinese girl's experience immigrating with her family to California. At times funny, heart-wrenching, and innovative, this book shows the difficulties of starting over in a new country in a way that a young reader would be able to understand. A great book to open our eyes to the different and sometimes unseen ways people struggle and how we can make the world a better place by being more inclusive and willing to listen to other's stories. - Jessica