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Lucy and Linh
Cover of Lucy and Linh
Lucy and Linh
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From an author Amy Tan calls "a gem," this is a witty, highly acclaimed novel that's "part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies" (The Bulletin, Starred review) about navigating life in private school...
From an author Amy Tan calls "a gem," this is a witty, highly acclaimed novel that's "part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies" (The Bulletin, Starred review) about navigating life in private school...
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Description-

  • From an author Amy Tan calls "a gem," this is a witty, highly acclaimed novel that's "part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies" (The Bulletin, Starred review) about navigating life in private school while remaining true to yourself.

    Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she's ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she's worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.

    Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless—everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy's last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.

    As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh—and to her old life—threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung's novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.


    An NPR Best Book of the Year
    A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
    A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection
    A Texas Tayhas Reading List Selection
    A Bank Street College of Education and Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year with Distinguished Outstanding Merit

    "A bracing, enthralling gut-punch and an essential read for teens, teachers, and parents alike." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred review
    "This daring work with an authentic protagonist teaches important lessons about being yourself while navigating through life."—School Library Journal, Starred review
    "Lucy's struggle to find her place and sense of self will have a wide appeal for teen readers and is a welcome addition to the prep-school canon."—Booklist, Starred review
    "Lyrical, enchanting prose from a narrator with perception so acute she cannot help but share it immerses readers into the very heart of every scene. This is highly recommended for classrooms and libraries [and] a superb choice for book discussion groups and world young adult literature survey courses."—VOYA, Starred review
    "Part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies, and part Special Topics in Calamity Physics, this well-observed and unsentimental novel taps into what is primal within privileged adolescent girls."—The Bulletin, Starred review
    "Lucy's narration pulls readers alongside her uncertain navigation of two worlds, and we can't help but cheer in solidarity as Lucy recognizes assimilation masquerading as inclusion, refuses to back down, and instead embraces who she is."—Horn Book Magazine
    "In a novel filled with strong visual images, Pung draws a sharp contrast between authenticity and deception, integrity and manipulation. Against the vividly painted backdrops of two very different communities, she traces Lucy's struggle to form a new identity without compromising the values she holds closest to her heart."—Publishers Weekly

Excerpts-

  • From the book Dear Linh,

    Remember how we used to catch the 406 bus after school, past the Victory Carpet Factory and the main hub of Sunray, through to Stanley? What an adventure, we used to think then. What a waste of time, looking back now. It was a waste of time because the bus would always worm its way back to Stanley, following exactly the same route, stopping at the same places and collecting the same people, who did the same things every same day.


    Remember that girl from St. Claire's who put her bag on the seat next to her so that no one else could sit down? And how we thought, typical of girls like that. When she got the vibe that we were talking about her behind her back, she turned around and told us to get stuffed. But that wasn't the most shocking thing about her. The most shocking thing was that where we had expected to see white teeth all even like a picket fence, they were herded behind that ugly gate in her mouth. Looking into that paddock of crumbly yellow rocks straining to break free from barbed wire, I thought, no wonder you're going back to Stanley.


    This is how I see it now. An old strip of seven shops, each with an identical metallic snake of a roller shutter coiled at the top. At night, with those iron blinds lowered, the street looked like a long, continuous, dirty warehouse, all graffiti and concrete.


    There was the local fish-and-chips shop, the Happy Oyster, which had never seen an oyster, joyous or otherwise, from the first day of its existence. A shop selling smokes, with incredibly expensive and lewd painted plaster figurines in its window—women with serpents and black leather straps instead of clothes. And a hairdresser that still called itself a barber, with a red, white and blue pole at the front and posters in the window of great haircuts from 1983.


    The largest shop was the convenience store that tried to pass itself off as a mini-mart, with faded packets of instant noodles and cans of soup not seen in a proper supermarket for years. The whole strip could probably rustle up only two or three trays of vegetables. The place that got the most business was Stanley Spirits on the corner. People went there mostly to get beer—half a dozen cans of VB at a stretch, VB standing for Victoria Bitter, which could also express the sentiments of the male residents of Stanley aged between seventeen and seventy. My mum never bought anything from this strip. Instead, she caught the bus to neighboring Sunray and its market, where she could get tomatoes for a dollar a pound if she went near closing time.


    Ours was the only blue house in Stanley, and I don't mean a pale blue washed out with a lot of white. I mean blue the color of that bubble-gum-flavored ice cream all kids love until they get older and find out how many chemicals are in every scoop. Now I feel the same way about our home. But when I was younger, I loved how it stood out; it was the kind of house a kid would draw, a rectangle in blue and a triangle in red.


    To our left were the Donaldsons, a lovely older couple who owned a Dalmatian that barked at all hours of the day. They'd come over once a year, two days after Christmas, to give us cake and handfuls of chocolates that tasted like brown crayons. A few months later, at Chinese New Year, Mum would ask me to walk over with coconut sweets or spring rolls, and sometimes I'd bring moon cakes from the Lunar Festival. "Aren't you a sweetie," they'd say.


    The Donaldsons' house was white, and its cement-rendered front was not pimpled with mold. They had a carefully maintained garden of bougainvilleas, cacti and fuchsias, and an...

About the Author-

  • Alice Pung is the author of the bestselling memoirs Unpolished Gem, which was published by Penguin in the United States and has been published in several translations, and the award-winning Her Father's Daughter. She is also the editor of the anthology Growing Up Asian in Australia and the author of the Marly books in the Our Australian Girl series. Learn more about Alice and her books at AlicePung.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 4, 2016
    Lucy Lam, a Vietnam War refugee, lives in a dilapidated Australian town among families like her own: poor, hardworking immigrants who dream of a better life for their children. Lucy gets a chance to make her parents proud when she wins a scholarship to a prestigious private school, but when she arrives at Laurinda, where “the beauty snuck up on you, like a femme fatale with a rock,” it’s like landing in another world, where her parents’ work ethic doesn’t apply. At Laurinda, power is valued over brilliance, and the school is ruled by a trio of girls, the “Cabinet,” who brazenly torment weaker classmates and undermine teachers. Lucy is both repelled and fascinated by these girls, but to be accepted into their clique means leaving her old ideals behind. In a novel filled with strong visual images, Pung (An Unpolished Gem) draws a sharp contrast between authenticity and deception, integrity and manipulation. Against the vividly painted backdrops of two very different communities, she traces Lucy’s struggle to form a new identity without compromising the values she holds closest to her heart. Ages 12–up.

  • Kirkus Reviews starred review "Lucy's voice is highly literary, her observations keen, and her self-awareness sometimes actively painful. A bracing, enthralling gut-punch and an essential read for teens, teachers, and parents alike."
  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review, July/August 2016 "In prose deft and clear-eyed, Pung captures Lucy's two worlds, with unflinching depictions of parental relationships, poverty, and elitism, as well as her emotional journey to incorporating all of her personality. Part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies, and part Special Topics in Calamity Physics, this well-observed and unsentimental novel taps into what is primal within privileged adolescent girls."

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    Random House Children's Books
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