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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,584 ratings  ·  617 reviews
Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.

Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 2014 by Black Inc. Books
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,584 ratings  ·  617 reviews

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Thank you Goodreads for my signed copy and my first 'First Reads' win. Signed copy was unexpected but great!

Alice Pung is a young woman with a vast cultural history and a very important story. Here is a piece of fiction, but knowing some of this author's background, this stuff is real. The main subject I took from this is the issue of 'outworkers' and the extreme hard work of those that need to do this and work very very hard to earn such little pay. I was not surprised to hear that Alice works
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Laurinda we follow the life of 15 years old, Lucy Lin, through a series of letters to unknown friend Linh. Lucy’s parents immigrated to Australia by boat from Vietnam, now living in lower suburbs of Stanley. Her mother’s place of work is in their garage, sewing clothes till all hours for minimal pay, and as well as her father, who works nights shift (long hours) at Victory Carpet factory – they’re battlers trying to get ahead. Lucy attends a catholic school, Christ Our Saviour where she’s fou ...more

This is a coming of age story and all the highs and lows and woes that go with this.
Growing up is a difficult journey at the best of times without finding your roots uprooted and planted in forgein land. A land where you have to have courage, where you need a voice to be heard and strength to get where you need to be in life.

Lucy is that person experiencing those problems.

Linh is the friend she writes and keeps in contact with in her homeland.

Lucy’s parent work hard to get her a better life.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This proved to be ideal aeroplane reading - I finished the whole thing in a couple of hours of uninterrupted flying time. It was not an earth shattering book but it was very readable - once started there was no where to stop.
I sometimes found Lucy to be very judgemental and she would certainly be a difficult person to be friends with, but the book was well paced and realistic about the problems of being the "different" person in a group. At the end I had no doubts that Lucy would certainly be ve
Bill Kupersmith
Laurinda follows a very old but effective formula; technically it is a Bildungsroman in which a young person learns the way of the world. An outsider learns to navigate the unfamiliar world of the upper classes. Only in this case the outsider is a child of Vietnamese boat people. Tho’ it’s a little more complicated because whilst having been born in Vietnam, Lucy’s parents are actually Chinese. They live in a downscale suburb of Melbourne, but the 15 y/o Lucy has won a scholarship to a posh girl ...more
Veronica ⭐️
I think how you feel about this book may have a lot to do with the readers own upbringing. I just found Lucy to be a big winger, very judgemental of other people but cried out that everyone was judging her.
The pranks at Laurinda were nothing horrendous, just pranks that teenagers do
I felt Lucy had a massive chip on her shoulder and I suppose her saving grace was she did realise it was there.

”I wish I could say I didn’t have a chip on my shoulder, but I knew I had a whole McCain’s factory up the
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: Melina Marchetta
Shelves: 4, 2015, ya, starred-2016, aus-nz
Compared to American mean girls, Australian rich mean girls seem so mellow and not scary at all.
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Alice Pung has received critical acclaim for her memoirs, Unpolished Gem and Her Father's Daughterwhich explore her experience as an Asian-Australian.

Laurinda is Alice Pung's first fiction novel and features a teenage girl, Lucy Lam, who is awarded the inaugural 'Equal Access' scholarship to the exclusive Laurinda Ladies College.

Lucy is the daughter of Chinese/Vietnamese 'boat' immigrants who live in a 'povvo' area of suburban Australia. Her father is a shift worker in a carpet factory while h
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lucy Linh is a 15 year old girl who has won a scholarship to exclusive Laurinda Ladies College. Her family are refugees who arrived in Australia on a fishing boat and think they are lucky that her father has a job in a factory and her mother works at home illegally making garments for minimal wages. So this is a big chance for Lucy to break out of her poverty and into the privileged world of Laurinda.

For Lucy, who was accepted and confident at her previous multicultural school, Laurinda is daun
Emily Mead
This book is absolutely incredible.

It's a commentary on race, on girls, the machinations of private schools, wealth and class and privilege. It has this strange, lilting, literary feel but it's never boring or dull.

Lucy Lam is a wonderful narrator. From the care she takes with her baby brother to the ways she navigates a completely different world, she is always relatable and never cruel.

This is one of my favourite reads of 2016. And I think that's a real testament to #LoveOzYA fiction. We se
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Laurinda was a good read, however I kept comparing it to my memories of Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta - my favourite book in my teen years - and for me it fell short.

Perhaps if I had never read LFA my rating for Laurinda would be higher?

It was well written, looked at race and socio economical divisions, humorous at times, provoked strong reader emotions - namely anger and fury at the 'mean girls', brought back memories of high school (although I don't think that is really a
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨ by: Wendy
Bloody fantastic. This book has been pitched as Mean Girls x Fresh Off The Boat, and I completely agree. Tackles white nonsense and the ingenuity of individuals who promote diversity and equality for the sake of their own image. (Sound familiar?)

- This book and narrative is as sharp as a tack. There were many, many times where I found myself laughing at the cleverly crafted satire.
- I ADORED Lucy. Lucy is a Vietnamese-Chinese student who earns an 'Equal Access' scholarship to go to a privileged
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reviews
I think that my intense dislike of “Lucy and Linh” may be a case of it being “it’s not you, it’s me.” For that reason I bumped up the stars from two to three.

I really did want to like the book. The story of a poor immigrant trying to assimilate in a private school full of spoiled rich girls seemed interesting. Not to mention, a diverse book! It seemed so full of promise. In reality, I found myself with an almost immediate dislike of Lucy that only increased as I kept reading. It didn’t help that
I don't like that this book has been marketed with a "Mean Girls" angle--- Lucy and Linh or Laurinda (the Aus title) unearths something far more insidious than vicious sociopolitics between teenage girls---- systemic white privilege, racism, elitism and classism in our society but using the backdrop of an elite all-girls' private school.

This book coolly dissects white privilege at its finest where it seems like a group of intelligent, privileged white girls "taking you under their wing" is some
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my fucking god. This book. I'm sure that every other review also mentions Mean Girls but holy shit. This is Mean Girls if Mean Girls was really, really smart and full of beautiful, heart-crushing statements about how being a teenage girl fucking sucks.

PLUS OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS BOOK GETS EVEN BETTER. There was so so much amazing stuff here about immigration and generational-divides and class and education and casual (and super not-casual but really intentional) racism and what it means to f
Michael Livingston
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Think Mean Girls with a sharper focus on class and race.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s
That was when I learned a very important early lesson: here at Laurinda, mistakes meant annihilation

* * *
3 / 5

I found Lucy and Linh a hard book to get into. It's written in an epistolary format; the whole book consists of letters from Lucy to her friend Linh as we follow her journey from ordinary public school to an elite Australian private all-girls school Laurinda. This was a difficult read for two reasons: first, I found the writing style a bit weird and unengaging, and second, it was quite
I loved how this book handles elitism and privilege, racial prejudice and the experience of Asian immigrants in Australia.

Lucy and Linh was a sharp, funny and just fantastic read. We don't get many Australian books here in the libraries of suburban America, which is such a pity, so this was an extra pleasure to read.
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, ya
I've been stalking this book on Amazon for a little while, so when I saw it on sale yesterday I hastily downloaded it and started reading straight away.

This is an insightful and honest account of a teenager from a 'problem' suburb in Melbourne, who changes to an exclusive school from her local Catholic after winning a scholarship. An extra dimension is that the teenager, Lucy, is first generation Australian. Whilst this is a book about a teenager, I hesitate to say it is YA fiction due to the de
This is a story of an Asian immigrant teen's life in Australia. Like Cloudwish, it explores haves and have nots, privilege, and relationships that are complicated inside and outside of school. What this book excels in in a way that Cloudwish doesn't, though, is really giving us deeper insight into the main character, with less focus (none at all, in fact, seeing Laurinda is an all-girls school) on romance. There are a lot of similar elements, though, so readers who like one will likely enjoy the ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Gave up after 75 pages. I really do appreciate how it dug into privilege, especially in regards to race and class, but the voice isn't holding my attention at all. We've got mean girls and sex-shaming and I'm certain the novel will tackle both, but Lucy's narrative voice simply isn't strong enough to make me stick around for that.

I read the first forty pages on January 29th and didn't pick the book up again until today, February 13th. That's a fine illustration of just how little Lucy brought m
Sophie Brookover
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I want everyone to read this book. It's about race and family and immigration and class and education and friendship and it is so, so good. Lucy's parents immigrated to Australia from Vietnam (where their ancestors had immigrated to, from China, some generations previous), and now scratch out a living as a factory worker (Lucy's dad) and seamstress (Lucy's mom). Lucy wins a prestigious scholarship to Laurinda Ladies' College, and everyone thinks that as a result, she'll be the on
Mavis Ros
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“But I felt the opposite. I was regressing as a person. Those two hours with Mrs. Leslie and Amber had drained me, Linh. “
“It was exhausting to be the sort of person they expected me to be. “

You know what? I felt the same way. There were at times where I want to practice self-control whilst trying not to let myself blurt out my immediate temper over the simplest things others are quite clueless about.

Lucy and Linh follows a girl who tries to maintain her life at a prestigious school and helping
Emily (em_isreading)
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: auslit
I don’t read much YA these days, and when I do it’s usually books that I fell in love with when they were age appropriate. In the past I have loved John Marsden, Isobelle Carmody and Melina Marchetta among others. Alice Pung knocks it out of the park with Laurinda. Snappy, visceral and heartbreaking at times, I could barely put this one down

🙌🏼 Lucy Lam is exactly the hero I needed in high school, I’ll be passing this along to my nieces and nephews and friends kids forever

✔️ Read for: #StellaProj
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my top teen picks for 2016. Lucy is one of the best-written characters I've read in a long time, so believable that you want to call her your friend. The way the author evokes the worlds that Lucy embodies is sensational, from her dilapidated home to the prestigious private school, and all the places in-between. I've rarely read and better understood the stark class divisions that are felt by an immigrant community and the second generation. Looking forward to reading more by Alic ...more
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely stunning. Perfect.
More like 3.75 stars. Also reviewed on my Youtube channel.

Reading this book was a slightly strange experience for me for several reasons.
1. It's set in Melbourne.
2. It's set in the 1990s.
3. It's set in a private girls' school.

I attended a private girls' school in Melbourne in the 1990s, so there was a lot about the story that felt frighteningly familiar. I could relate more than I liked to the parts of the story about teenage girls tormenting teachers and the rest of the class going along with
Helen King
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was a good read - some parts rang true, and some were a bit too simplistic (especially in reference to Lucy's old school, which, other than a relatively low academic performance, appeared to be flawless - which was probably unlikely).

There are some parts where Alice Pung really nails the differences, and the snobbery, and the key values between the two cultural groups she is trying to bridge (and, in fact, the subgroups within them), but others where she choses an unrealistic scenario or s
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The social commentary in this is PHENOMENAL, but it took me a really long time to actually get into it. Once I did, though, I was sold. The description of this being Mean Girls meets Fresh off the Boat is spot-on.
Anna Spargo-Ryan
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Lucy Lam talks a lot in this book. She talks a lot about how ambitious she is, about how poor her neighbourhood is, about how hard working her parents are. She talks about the snobby girls at her school and about the down-trodden teachers and especially about the Cabinet.

The thing is, she talks about it so much that she doesn't let us see any of it. Looking for Alibrandi is one of my favourite books, and it's hard not to compare it to this (Pung herself mentions its author in her acknowledgement
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
North Sydney Girl...: Discussion on Laurinda 1 3 Feb 20, 2020 01:29AM  
Lucy and Linh 1 2 Sep 26, 2019 04:55PM  
Stella Project: June 2019 - Laurinda 11 13 Jun 26, 2019 04:06AM  
Different Voices 1 4 Jul 16, 2018 07:29PM  
Play Book Tag: Laurinda - Alice Pung - 2.5 stars rounded to 3 1 12 Aug 02, 2017 06:36AM  

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Alice was born in Footscray, Victoria, a month after her parents Kuan and Kien arrived in Australia. Alice’s father, Kuan - a survivor of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime - named her after Lewis Carroll’s character because after surviving the Killing Fields, he thought Australia was a Wonderland. Alice is the oldest of four - she has a brother, Alexander, and two sisters, Alison and Alina.

Alice grew

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“I never tell them about our lives. You know why? It is not because I am ashamed. It is because some things are just good, too good to be judged.” 16 likes
“People, even well-intentioned people, were always trying to take away our quiet little successes and joys and replace them with big, overarching fears.” 6 likes
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