Author: Alice Pung
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama, Humor
Visit Laurinda’s goodreads page here
Publisher: Black Books Inc
Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle 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 in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about power and repression – Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.
Few genres are more enthralling than the school story. In Laurinda, the acclaimed Alice Pung tells an involving, original story that captures the drama and pain of school life today, as well as revealing much about the choices of young women.
I won this in a Goodreads first-read giveaway, many months ago, in exchange for an honest review.
This book is freaking phenomenal! If I had to describe this to someone is less than 10 words it would be: It’s a modern mean girls story in novel.
I was attracted to this novel because it set in an all girls school, and for some reason I love novels based around schools, I think it’s mostly because I can relate to the plot easily, obviously because I go to school. Anyway, I entered the giveaway because I was expecting a story full of hilarious drama that just pulled you in; that exactly what I got!
Laurinda follows a girl named Lucy that moves school from Stanley, a small school in the under privileged part of town, to Laurinda through a full scholarship. The novel is about Lucy trying to fit into a completely new surrounding, at Christ Our Saviour she could be her true self without her peer’s judgment, whereas at Laurinda she has to become someone she is not. This includes hiding her past and family, as well as changing her personality to portray Laurinda’s ‘family spirit’. One thing that Lucy find most difficult at the new school is the hierarchy within the student population. All of the girls, and even some of the teachers, are terrified of a trio of girls referred to as the Cabinet. They are Amber, Brodie and Chelsea who the popular girls of the school, and they control everyone and anything they want, they get. Lucy seen the Cabinet as they truly were, Lying and backstabbing girls that thought of themselves as school royalty, but because of their sweet faces and the innocent girl personas, everyone allowed them to take full advantage of them. Some even thought of it as a pleasure; the royalty was praising them for their hard work and dedication towards them.
I loved how this novel showed how different Lucy was to the typical Laurinda girls, and she learned to embrace it. She lived in a home where she was the backbone of the family, her mother didn’t speak English so she gave the majority of the stereotypical mother jobs to her, and she didn’t complain because she knew they had to be done. When she became apart of the Cabinet, her outlook of her life was changed drastically. The petty little jobs she had to do began to annoy her, as well as the life she was living because it was nothing compared to the new one she was awakened to. Like the typical Young Adult novel she didn’t see this as a problem until a rude awakening when she became aware of the horrible things her ‘friends’ did. Lucy took back control of her life and learned to love the things that had her different from the petty, annoying girls in the Cabinet.
The only problem I had with it was how similar it was to mean girls the movie. I understand it was the inspiration to this story but I found that many of the major plot points were almost exactly the same as the movie. The Cabinet was almost exactly like the Plastics: Regina, Gretchen and Karen. But besides that this novel was practically flawless.
*THIS NEXT SECTION CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK* The personification of Lucy’s past personality was interesting and so unique. Throughout the novel Lucy writes to, who we think is a friend of her, Lihn. We later find out that Lihn is actually herself, but the version that went to Christ Our Saviour. I find it really interesting that Alice Pung wrote them as two different characters to show the severe changes she went through at Laurinda. Lihn, who attended Christ Our Saviour, wasn’t ashamed to be whom she really was; a young girl with Chinese heritage that lived in a home that couldn’t afford luxuries, but she didn’t mind. Whereas Lucy, the girl who attended the prestigious school Laurinda, was the outcast that didn’t really fit in. she wasn’t as smart as the other girls, she was as wealthy as the other girls or as privileged.
“I never tell them about our lives. You know why? It is not because I am ashamed. It is because some things are just good, too good to be judged.” This novel is so fantastically funny, yet true, that I recommend this to everyone. I’m sure you will relate to the story in some way, that’s what turns a good story into a fantastic story. I will definitely be reading this again!