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Gilmore Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat in this witty novel 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.


"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

"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

"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



About the Author

Alice Pung

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 up in Footscray and Braybrook, and changed high schools five times - almost once every year! These experiences have shaped her as a writer because they taught her how to pay attention to the quiet young adults that others might overlook or miss. Alice Pung's first book, , is an Australian bestseller which won the Australian Book Industry Newcomer of the Year Award and was shortlisted in the Victorian and NSW Premiers' Literary awards. It was published in the UK and USA in separate editions and has been translated into several languages including Italian, German and Indonesian. Alice's next book, , won the Western Australia Premier's Award for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Victorian and NSW Premiers' Literary awards and the Queensland Literary Awards. Alice also edited the collection and her writing has appeared in the , the , and and Alice is a qualified lawyer and still works as a legal researcher in the area of minimum wages and pay equity. She lives with her husband Nick at Janet Clarke Hall, the University of Melbourne, where she is the Artist in Residence.



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