Stacey Lee

Bestselling Young Adult Novelist
NYT Bestseller
Travels from: San Jose, CA

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

Stacey Lee is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction. A native of Southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she graduated from UCLA, then got her law degree from UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain.

Stacey dreamed of writing books for a living since she was nine, when she penned her first children’s novel. Now, she’s the acclaimed author of The Secret of a Heart Note, Under a Painted Sky, and Outrun the Moon, which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. Her latest novel, Luck of the Titanic, is set to be published May 2021. She also contributed to The Radical Element, an anthology of daredevils, debutantes and other dauntless girls, edited by Jessica Spotswood. Her work has earned the Asian Pacific American Library Association Literature Award, and The SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and they are listed among the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, The Kirkus Review’s Best YA Books, the Amelia Bloomer List, and The New York Library’s Top Ten YA Books. She lives with her family outside of San Francisco.

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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

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

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

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 Kit

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