“We would work with Stacey again in a heartbeat!” — Southern Tier Library, 2021

Stacey Lee is the New York Times and Indie bestselling author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction, including The Downstairs Girl, a Reese’s Book Club YA pick, and her most recent novel, Luck of the Titanic, which received five starred reviews. She also writes belly-busting middle grade fiction with Rick Riordan Presents.

A native of southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she picked degrees at UCLA then UC Davis and practiced law for several years before retiring to start her real job writing books. Her books have been published in over a dozen countries, and have won the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association award, the PEN Center award for best YA, the Northern California Book Award, and the Golden Poppy Award and appeared on Cosmopolitan’s Best YA Books of All Time, and Parade Magazines’ Best YA, among others. She is a co-founder of the We Need Diverse Books movement and writes stories for all kids (even the ones who look like adults).

Stacey’s book The Downstairs Girl (Aug 2019) is a powerful novel about identity, betrayal and the meaning of family, set in the 19th century New South. Her recent middle grade series, Winston Chu vs. The Whimsies and Winston Chu vs. the Wingmeisters, is a modern retelling of a classic Chinese folktale. Stacey’s YA mystery Kill Her Twice, released Spring 2024.

 

Stacey's Featured Titles

Kill Her Twice

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers |
YA Mystery/Thriller

LOS ANGELES, 1932: Lulu Wong, star of the silver screen and the pride of Chinatown, has a face known to practically everyone, especially the Chow sisters—May, Gemma, and Peony—Lulu’s former classmates and neighbors. So the girls instantly know it’s Lulu when they discover a body one morning in an out-of-the-way stable, far from the Beverly Hills home where she lived after her fame skyrocketed.

The sisters suspect Lulu’s death is the result of foul play, but the police don’t seem motivated to investigate. Even worse, there are signs that point to a cover-up, and powerful forces in the city want to frame the killing as evidence that Chinatown is a den of iniquity and crime, even more reason it should be demolished to make room for the construction of a new railway depot, Union Station.

Worried that neither the police nor the papers will treat Lulu fairly—no matter her fame and wealth—the sisters set out to solve their friend’s murder themselves, and maybe save their neighborhood in the bargain. But with Lulu’s killer still on the loose, the girls’ investigation just might put them square in the crosshairs of a cold-blooded murderer.

Rick Riordan Presents: Winston Chu vs. the Wingmeisters

Rick Riordan Presents |
Middle Grade Fantasy

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling YA author Stacey Lee’s final book in her debut middle grade duology: a whimsical, mile-a-minute adventure inspired by Chinese mythology.

Twelve-year-old Winston Chu has already rescued his sister, saved the moon’s qi, and kicked Mr. Pang’s sorry magpie-turned-human butt to the curb—but now he’s about to face an even bigger problem: Mr. Pang’s older magpie-turned-human brother, Mr. Gu.

Sure, Mr. Gu might be the current front-runner to be San Francisco’s next mayor, but, as Winston knows all too well, appearances can be deceiving—and Mr. Gu, despite his cheerful laugh and brightly-colored shirts, is definitely hiding something.

Because all of a sudden, there’s an eerily punctual fog that seems to follow him on his trips to an island in the bay. And grown-ups are turning up all the across the city with no memory of who they are, but with plenty of enthusiasm for their favorite mayoral candidate. And then there’s the flocks of exotic birds that have begun amassing in every corner of the city. For Winston and his friends, there’s no denying something. . . fowl. . . is afoot.

And the only one who might have the answers they need to save the city? Their old nemesis, Mr. Pang. . .

Winston’s magical adventures come to a thrilling end in this whimsical, rollicking ride filled with invisible windbreakers, mischievous mustaches, and badminton rackets of destiny.

Endorsed by Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, soon to be a series on Disney+.

Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies

Rick Riordan Presents |
Middle Grade

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Stacey Lee’s modern reimagining of a classic Chinese folktale—replete with magic, boba, and lots of trash talking.

Twelve-year-old Winston Chu is supposed to learn impulse control at the cooking academy his mom enrolled him in. But learning to think before he acts won’t happen overnight.

While skateboarding home with a pie in hand, Winston inadvertently stops a robbery at Mr. Pang’s Whimsies, an oddities shop in Chinatown. As a reward, Mr. Pang invites Winston to choose any item in the store. But the strange old man warns Winston to browse carefully, for the first thing Winston touches will be the thing he gets. Before Winston can decide, a magpie flies under a shelf, and he impulsively grabs an old broom to sweep it out.

Mr. Pang hands him the broom, along with a dustpan. “Two for one. Congratulations.”

Deflated, Winston returns home, determined to put the broom incident behind him. Or at least in the closet. But when some of his most beloved possessions go missing, all Winston can think about are the broom and dustpan. Did they somehow take his stuff? And what—or who—will they dispose of next?

It’s time to break into Mr. Pang’s Whimsies, where clearly there’s more going on than meets the far-seeing eyeball. It’s time to fight magic with magic. And this time, Winston better have a plan.

Look for these other exciting adventures from Rick Riordan Presents:
Rick Riordan Presents: The Last Fallen Moon by Graci Kim
Rick Riordan Presents: Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Rick Riordan Presents: Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee
Rick Riordan Presents: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Luck of the Titanic

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers |
Young Adult

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage.

Valora Luck has two things: a ticket for the biggest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world, and a dream of leaving England behind and making a life for herself as a circus performer in New York. Much to her surprise though, she’s turned away at the gangway; apparently, Chinese aren’t allowed into America.

But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother Jamie, who has spent two long years at sea, is there, as is an influential circus owner, whom Val hopes to audition for. Thankfully, there’s not much a trained acrobat like Val can’t overcome when she puts her mind to it.

As a stowaway, Val should keep her head down and stay out of sight. But the clock is ticking and she has just seven days as the ship makes its way across the Atlantic to find Jamie, perform for the circus owner, and convince him to help get them both into America.

Then one night the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Val’s dreams of a new life are crushed under the weight of the only thing that matters: survival.

The Downstairs Girl

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers |
Young Adult
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

Outrun the Moon

Speak |
Young Adult

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl comes an unforgettable story of determination set against a backdrop of devastating tragedy, perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

Winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult
Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, San Francisco in 1906, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. Now she’s forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

The Secret of a Heart Note

Katherine Tegen Books |
Young Adult

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl, Stacey Lee, an evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to help others fall in love—while protecting her own heart at all costs. Perfect for fans of When Dimple Met Rishi and I’ll Be the One and now in paperback.

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone.

For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend.

But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.

Under a Painted Sky

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers |
Young Adult
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl, Stacey Lee’s debut novel is a powerful story about love, friendship, and sacrifice, perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

“This moving novel will captivate you.”—Buzzfeed.com

All Samantha wanted was to move back to New York and pursue her music, which was difficult enough being a Chinese girl in Missouri, 1849. Then her fate takes a turn for the worse after a tragic accident leaves her with nothing and she breaks the law in self-defense. With help from Annamae, a runaway slave she met at the scene of her crime, the two flee town for the unknown frontier.
But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls. Disguised as Sammy and Andy, two boys heading for the California gold rush, each search for a link to their past and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. Until they merge paths with a band of cowboys turned allies, and Samantha can’t stop herself from falling for one. But the law is closing in on them and new setbacks come each day, and the girls will quickly learn there are not many places one can hide on the open trail.

Winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award
An ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick
An Amelia Bloomer Book

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Where Are All the Mirrors in Children’s Literature, and Other Questions You Never Thought To Ask

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Tension, Conflicts and Stakes, Oh My! How to Ratchet These Three Key Elements to Create Your Best Page Turner

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How Small Voices Can Make Loud Echoes

Stacey’s News

Interviews, Educational Resources & Classroom Guides

Stacey’s Upcoming Events

Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times & Indie Bestselling Author
Reese’s Book Club Pick
California Poppy Award for Best YA Fiction
The Crystal Kite Award
PEN America Literary Award Winner
ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick
Amelia Bloomer Book
Asian Pacific American Librarians Association YA Best Book of the Year
NY Library Best Book for Teens

Media clips

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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