Jo Kuan is a Chinese American girl trying to scrape out a living in late 1800s Atlanta. During the day, Jo works as a lady’s maid in one of the richest Atlanta households. At night, she is the anonymous ‘Miss Sweetie,’ an inflammatory advice columnist for one of the local newspapers. In her column, Jo is able to explore her ideas about segregation and women’s rights--all topics normally forbidden to her. But her opinions have some consequences and lead her to more trouble than she bargained for.
Lee’s The Downstairs Girl is excellent historical fiction for teens. She weaves an intriguing story with interesting characters. Lee also gives voice to the prominent social issues of the time period. This book is the perfect blend of entertainment and education, making it a perfect fit for historical fiction lovers.