Book Review: The Downstairs Girl


The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

eBook | eAudio | Print 

Jo Kuan is not your average 17-year old. Not only has she apprenticed with one of the best hatmakers in Atlanta, but her adoptive father is a respected horse trainer for one of the wealthiest families in Georgia. But due to strict segregation laws, she and her adoptive father have to live in a secret basement below a printmaker’s shop. Forced to navigate an increasingly hostile segregationist regime in 1870’s Atlanta, Jo must learn that her voice is something that she has to make be heard–or no one will ever hear it.

I recommend this book because it offers an unheard perspective of a Chinese teenage girl set in 1870’s Georgia. It has everything from romance to secrets that could tear apart society as people understand it to the exclusionist problems that progressive movements still have today. It is a timely reflection of our current times as we continue to repeat the past. Jo’s sharp wit and strong opinions have consequences and her rejection of society’s rules gives unique insight to how such rebellious actions can play out.

Review by Hannah Lee, 9/28/20