Black Inc., $19.95 pb, 352 pp, 9781863956925
Lucy Lam is a studious pupil at a multicultural Melbourne Catholic school. Her mother minds the baby at home and sews high-end chain store clothing in the garage, while her father toils at a hazardous carpet factory. With dreams of following a different path, Lucy sits an exam for Laurinda, an exclusive ladies’ college, and is awarded the inaugural Equal Access scholarship for ‘kids with parents the school considered povvo’. She leaves behind her friends to start Year Ten at a school where power doesn’t belong to the adults but is shared among a trio of students called ‘the Cabinet’.