I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I love school stories, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read Lucy and Linh. This is a YA novel written by Alice Pung. It was originally published in Australia as Laurinda in 2014.
Lucy Lam is a teenage girl who wins an academic scholarship to attend Laurinda, a prestigious private school. This is a very big opportunity for her, and it is a testament to how much she has achieved since arriving in Australia as an immigrant when she was seven years old.
The story unfolds in an almost epistolary format, as Lucy recounts her experiences at Laurinda to Linh, who used to go to school with her. The girls are very different than what Lucy is used to, and this is not simply because they come from more affluent backgrounds than her old schoolmates. Lucy quickly realizes that a trio of girls called The Cabinet are the ones really running the show, and she is even more surprised when they take an interest in her.
But of course, Lucy quickly realizes that having these girls take an interest in might not be the helping hand that it appears to be.
I fell in love with Lucy and Linh because of the amazing prose. As I read through the book, I kept texting my friend, gushing about the prose, and insisting that she had to read this book. It’s subtle in its brilliance, and I savored every moment of the book. This is definitely one that I am going to want to go back and read again to see if there are any hidden things that I missed on my first read-through.
This is so much more than a fish out of water story, and it’s more than an “Australian Mean Girls”. The girls in the Cabinet are so skilled at manipulation that I found myself doubting that they were manipulating Lucy. The trio is generally awful, but it’s also fascinating to see the extent of their power.
I would absolutely recommend Lucy and Linh. Lucy is a brilliant narrator who appears wise beyond her years. She is an astute observer, and her perspective on the situations she finds herself in is both insightful and hilarious. This is one of the best YA books that I have read in awhile, and I am looking forward to reading more from Alice Pung.