Downstairs Girl

Downstairs Girl

eBook - 2019
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-- "A gorgeous tale that will steal your heart. This is not only a keeper, but a classic! --Robin LaFevers, -- "Clever, funny, and poignant, "Immersive, important, and thoroughly entertaining, Conviction
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Penguin Young Readers Group 2019
ISBN: 9781524740962
Characteristics: 1 online resource (384 pages)
Call Number: eBook

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From Library Staff

List - 2019 Best in Ya
SaraLovesBooks Jan 03, 2020

"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."

DCLteens Oct 11, 2019

A Must-Read YA staff pick. With a starred review from every major book reviewer, this latest story from Stacey Lee will keep you turning the pages. Chinese American Jo Kuan’s double life as a lady’s maid by day and a popular, yet pseudonymous advice columnist by night is both clever and poignant.

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FPL_Annie Mar 01, 2020

A charming historical fiction about an opinionated Chinese girl who has a secret identity: she is the author behind "Dear Miss Sweetie", a newspaper advice column challenging fixed ideas of race and gender.

Mar 01, 2020

The writing in this book is beautiful! The imagery, similes, metaphors, and I could go on about the words and writing. Jo lives in an underground area unbeknownst to the owners of the home who also run a newspaper there. She does not know who her mother is and lives with who she believes is her uncle. He never says much about the family but it does eventually come out. So many words to live by and Jo and her uncle do not have it easy. Jo has a tendency to speak her mind which eventually is the reason she is let go from the millery where so made beautiful hats with gorgeous knots. As Jo tries to help the owner of the house/newspaper, she begins to write a column called "Miss Sweetie" where she can speak her mind anonymously. As her column becomes popular so does the newspaper and subscriptions increase and so does speaking her mind. Great story but the words/writing put it over the top.

Feb 23, 2020

I've liked all of this author's books so far and this one was good as well.

Very interesting to read about a Chinese girl in 1890 Atlanta, Georgia, who is neither black or white. I appreciated the historical detail and facts, and, although some of the plot seemed a stretch, overall it was a good story. I do wish there was a sequel to it, though. I felt a few things at the end left me hanging.

Tigard_HollyCP Feb 14, 2020

It’s 1890, and seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan lives with Old Gin in what used to be an underground railroad hideaway in Atlanta. They live kind of on the margins, not black, not white. The basement in which they live is unknown even to the people who live in the house above them, a publisher and his wife and son. Jo feels partly as if she was raised by the Bells, listening to Mrs. Bell tell little Nathan bedtime stories, eavesdropping as Mr. Bell works on his newspaper stories. They don’t know she exists. She doesn’t know her parents, only Old Gin, who took her under his wing when she was found abandoned as an infant. When she is sacked for no good reason by the hatmaker and re-hired by a mistress who had previously fired her (also for no good reason), she is required to spend most of her days with the most unpleasant Caroline Payne. But the work that really matters to her is her new job as the anonymous author of the Miss Sweetie agony aunt column in the Bells’ newspaper, her goal to save them from shuttering their doors because of lack of readership. Jo has a unique, often dry and sarcastic voice and is clever with her words. I LOVE her character. Through most of the book I thought I would rate it 5 stars, but I had to lower it to 4 ½ because toward the end some of the relationship development did not seem realistic to me. No matter, it is an enjoyable read that opens a window to a part of American history I knew little about.

Jan 10, 2020

Stacey Lee writes with a wisdom that speaks to the ancient philosophers. Her "Dear Miss Sweetie" responses were to the point yet gracious and insightful. I want a Miss Sweetie in my life! Jo's everyday musings on life are also a joy to read. Here is one of her gems: "Hammer Foot taught us that standing in another's shoes is good for our own postures, but today, I can barely manage to stand in my own." Lee gives us a view of Atlanta when segregation was rearing its ugly head in the late 19th century through Jo's eyes as a Chinese American. Powerful stuff and Lee deals presents it to us unvarnished, yet with charm and sensitivity. She is one of my favorite YA authors.

Jan 08, 2020

Although I really enjoyed this book, I just felt like it was lacking something? The story line was a little slow for me hence the 4 star review. I loved Jo as a main character, she is a Chinese-American living in the South sometime after the civil war. There is still a lot of turmoil in the south during this time period setting, so race and feminism play a huge roll in this storyline. Jo just wants to be treated equally, she wants to ride in the "white train only," and as a female she wants the right to vote. Jo is a high-strung character who's full of OPINIONS and she wants her opinions to be heard! It's because of this that she makes the perfect person to run an anonymous advice column under the guise "Miss Sweetie." I think this was my favorite part of the book. Throughout the novel she receives some letters asking for advice, and Jo's responses were just so hilariously written. Another thing I really loved about this novel was the romance. Jo secretly has a crush on the editor for the newspaper she writes for and it was really fun to watch this romance play out, but I do think if there had been just a little bit more romance strewn throughout the novel it would have made for the quicker pace that it was lacking in my opinion.

Dec 21, 2019

From 30 best YA books of the last decade

sjpl_rebekah Nov 21, 2019

Format: eAudiobook

A truly delightful listen starring a spunky heroine. I really enjoy historical fiction novels that highlight groups that are not widely covered in American history books. Chinese Americans are one such group. Lee addresses the fact that Chinese Americans were often invisible to society because they did not easily fit into the construct of “black” or “white.” Though considered “colored” by most, it was not always clear which laws of segregation and discrimination applied to their ethnic group. This is evident throughout the story, as Jo tries to navigate the tricky and often murky waters of the political and social climate of the South.

This book did get a little slow somewhere in the middle, but the beginning and end were fantastic. Lee’s character development is superb and she tied up the story in ways that I didn’t really expect. I liked that a romance was not a central focus of this story, because this was really a coming-of-age story about a young woman finding her voice in a world that tried hard to silence her. Despite adversity, she challenged social norms and was not satisfied to let others dictate her destiny.

Emily Woo Zeller did a great job as the narrator of this book. I enjoyed this performance far more than her performance in The Bird and the Blade.

Nov 21, 2019

Lighthearted YA historical fiction about a spirited Chinese teenager fighting for both women’s and minority’s rights in 1890. Interesting look at this post reconstruction time period. In a time where life was centered around black and white, the Chinese were tolerated but they were not considered “real” Americans. In this book a plucky girl tries to rise above the barriers. This is the 2nd historical fiction I’ve read by this author. I enjoyed both of them.

Oct 29, 2019

Aimed at YA readers, Lee was successful in delivering a story of a young Asian immigrant living in the south at a time where Asians and African Americans had no status much less citizenship. Jo and her grandfather live incognito in a basement of a print shop where she submits her modern views on the latest societal woes through an advise column. Not only is Jo a strong female lead, but she epitomizes the struggle of the unrecognized and the disenfranchised.

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WVMLlibrarianShannon Jan 23, 2020

WVMLlibrarianShannon thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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