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Publisher Description

A Reese's Book Club YA Pick and New York Times Bestseller
From the critically acclaimed author of Luck of the Titanic, Under a Painted Sky, and Outrun the Moon comes a powerful novel about identity, betrayal, and the meaning of family.

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.
"This vividly rendered historic novel will keep readers riveted as witty, observant Jo deals with the dangers of questioning power." --The Washington Post

"Holds a mirror to our present issues while giving us a detailed and vibrant picture of life in the past." --The New York Times

"A joyful read . . . The Downstairs Girl, for all its serious and timely content, is a jolly good time." --NPR

Young Adult
August 13
Penguin Young Readers Group

Customer Reviews

stace1005 ,

Clever, witty and deep

A vibrantly told story of the times that white America is afraid to have the curtain pulled back. Stacey weaves a beautiful knot between discrimination, wisdom and forgiveness.

AdrienneSlothouber ,

Really enjoyed

I read this book in two days it was so good.

Softball_Gurl_0101 ,


This book is an astonishingly beautiful book with plenty of plot twists and surprises along the way. This book will keep anyone in the edge of their seats, guessing what may happen next but is to unpredictable to guess. It’s marvelous, thought provoking, and emotional. This is one of the BEST books I’ve read in a while and can only say I wish for a second book with Jo, Nathan, and our other marvelous characters that I’ve come to love!!

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