Spoiler-Free Review: The Downstairs Girl

“We all must abide by the rules, but some of us must follow more than others”

Author: Stacey Lee

The civil war is over. Now Atlanta is divided into “black” and “white.” But where does a Chinese girl belong in a black and white world?

Jo Kuan and her grandfather make their own way, no one will rent rooms to Chinese? They make a life in the hiding spots left over from the underground railroad. Jo looses her job at a hat shop because some woman complained about being served by a Chinese girl? She’ll get a job as a ladies maid to the biggest brat in Atlanta. Jo and her grandfather keep to themselves and look out for each other.

When the newspaper upstairs (the one that doesn’t know they live in the basement) is in danger of closing, Jo is determined to keep a roof over their heads, even if it means coming out of her self imposed shell and taking a few risks.

I liked this book. I recommend this book to young adult / teen readers interesting in historical fiction. It’s not perfect, what happened at the horse race is… contrived to say the least. Over all though I enjoyed the story, and I will be on the look out for more works from this author.

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