November 17, 2017

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Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung | SLJ Review

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redstarPUNG, Alice. Lucy and Linh. 352p. ebook available. Knopf. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399550485.

YA-HS-Pung-Lucy and LinhGr 8 Up –Life is not easy for Lucy Lam. Her immigrant mother and father work seemingly never-ending hours to make life bearable for her and her young brother in suburban Stanley, Australia. Lucy can’t help but compare herself to her more outgoing friends, especially Linh, who always seems to come out on top with her easy retorts and spunky attitude. When she and her classmates learn of a contest for a full ride scholarship to the most prestigious private school in the area, all the girls try out. To everyone’s surprise, Lucy gets the spot and quickly feels the pressure to assimilate to the glamorous lifestyle of the school. At first, leaving her old life seems like the perfect plan, and she soon loses touch with everyone, including Linh. Will Lucy realize the importance of her past and stay true to herself? Pung revitalizes the popular “mean girls against the new girl” trope in a surprising new way by revealing the difficulty in distinguishing between good and bad in this engaging novel. She deftly creates a story that immerses readers and makes this world relatable. Young adults will root for quirky Lucy and will be checked by a big twist at the end. VERDICT This daring work with an authentic protagonist teaches important lessons about being yourself while navigating through life. A strong purchase that will captivate teens and adults alike.–DeHanza Kwong, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2016 issue.

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