Laurinda, Alice's first novel, was published by Black Inc in 2014 and was one of Readings' Top 100 bestselling books for the year.
When my dad dropped us off at the front gate, the first things I saw were the rose garden spreading out on either side of the main driveway and the enormous sign in iron cursive letters spelling out LAURINDA. No “Ladies College” after it, of course; the name was meant to speak for itself.
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, Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.
Funny, feisty and moving, Laurinda explores Lucy’s struggle to stay true to herself as she finds her way in a new world of privilege and opportunity.
Praise for Laurinda
‘Biting yet compassionate’—Books of the Year, Australian Book Review
‘Alice Pung totally nails it with Laurinda. Funny, horrifying, and sharp as a serpent’s fangs.’ —John Marsden
‘Pung continues to impress with her nuanced storytelling; Laurinda will surely resonate with anyone who remembers the cliquey, hierarchical nature of the playground.’—Sunday Age
‘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
‘In her debut novel [Pung] successfully dramatizes the high stakes when an impoverished Chinese girl is parachuted into the private system … 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
‘Based loosely on Pung’s own experiences, the book has an unmissable ring of truth to it, making it all the more compelling and horrifying.’—Sydney Morning Herald
“Schoolgirl Lucy Lam was one of this year’s best characters – smart, hardworking and brave. Pung tackles big issues with a light touch.’—Herald Sun
‘Exquisitely sharp’—Books of the Year, the Age