Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
I could use your advice...
Thirteen-year-old Patricia "Sweet Pea" DiMarco is experiencing some significant changes. Her parents have agreed to an amicable divorce and will live on the same street in similar houses to minimize their daughter's discomfort with this new family dynamic.
She is simultaneously negotiating a falling-out with her former best friend and the repercussions from thoughtlessness toward her new best friend. This girl is headed for a world of hurt.
Then there's her neighbor, the eccentric advice columnist Miss Flora Mae who leaves town and asks Sweet Pea to forward advice requests and then deliver the answers to the newspaper editor. Sweet Pea succumbs to temptation and reads letters addressed to Miss Flora Mae. She decides to dispense her own advice and sets up an elaborate scheme to impersonate Miss Flora Mae in print. Sometimes the plan works. Sometimes it doesn't. How she extricates herself from a situation of her own making, salvages damages friendships, and rebuilds trust makes for a humorous, heartwarming tale.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
Hold your horses. What's next? Shall women and men be forced to exchange wardrobes - pants on her and petticoats on him? I think you need to rein in your brazen ideas.
Stacey Lee addresses racism, worker's rights, immigration, and women's suffrage from a unique perspective: a Chinese girl living in Atlanta Georgia in the late 1800s.
Seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan loses her job as a milliner and must return to the demeaning life of a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. She and immigrant Old Gin secretly live in a tunnel beneath a newspaper printer's shop. She faces discrimination on several fronts. She’s an orphan, female, and Chinese .
An intelligent and resourceful young woman, she is determined to protect Old Gin and rise above her current circumstances. She finds a way, pseudonymously penning a local newspaper's advice column "Dear Miss Sweetie." Many questions are of the mundane sort: unruly children, troubled marriages, making a hat fit properly. She doesn’t stop there. Under the cloak of anonymity, she speaks out forcefully on racial and gender inequality. Her column is a success and newspaper subscriptions skyrocket.
Heart-warming, pulse-pounding, eye-opening historical fiction. The Downstairs Girl is a captivating read.