Barnes and Noble Book of the Year
Winner of the Ethel Turner Prize
A stunning and important novel which covers important topics such as race, class and abuse of power in an exclusive secondary school in Melbourne, Australia.
Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its secret core is the Cabinet, a trio 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 at work, and is courted by them, can Lucy stay true to herself as she finds her way in this new world of privilege and opportunity?
Faced with the pressures of fitting in Lucy must reconcile ideas about culture, self and attitude to carve out her identity in this hostile environment.
'Alice Pung is a gem. Her voice is the real thing' Amy Tan
'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' Publisher's Weekly
'A candid and powerful exploration of family, culture and class... it is those of us who take our fortune and privilege for granted that I wish would read this powerful book' Readings Monthly
'Pung's forceful writing reveals the diverse and often difficult lives of her immigrant compatriots too often hidden away from us by masks of discretion' The Age
'Biting yet compassionate' Australian Book Review
'Funny, horrifying, and sharp as a serpent's fangs' John Marsden
'Part Mean Girls, part Lord of the Flies, and part Special Topics on Calamity Physics, this well-observed and unsentimental novel taps into what is primal within privileged adolescent girls' The Bulletin of the Centre of Children's Books