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  • Published: 16 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781761345180
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $34.99

Jade and Emerald

Winner of the 2023 Penguin Literary Prize




From the winner of the 2023 Penguin Literary Prize.

Lei Ling Wen is lonely. Bored of her demanding after-school schedule of tuition, study and violin lessons, she struggles to see eye to eye with her strict Chinese-Malaysian mother.

When Lei Ling is befriended by elegant, worldly socialite Gigi Nu, she is enchanted by the realm of luxury and freedom that suddenly opens up to her. Gigi encourages Lei Ling to flout her routines and treats her to designer products and expensive meals, and soon Lei Ling finds herself caught between two lives, and increasingly at odds with her exasperated mother.


Then tragedy strikes, and Lei Ling discovers long-held secrets that lead her to question everything she thought she knew about the two central women in her life, and the friendship she’d held at the heart of it.

Jade and Emerald is a fierce and deeply felt novel about the joys and pains of growing up, of accepting who you are and where you come from.

  • Published: 16 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781761345180
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Michelle See-Tho

Michelle See-Tho is a freelance writer and copywriter. She has had articles and stories published in Kill Your Darlings, Meanjin, Overland and The Big Issue Fiction Edition. Jade and Emerald, her first novel, won the 2023 Penguin Literary Prize.

Praise for Jade and Emerald

Jade and Emerald is a wonderful escape into the late 90s, a mood-lifter packed with cultural insights, which will induce binge-reading.

Nadia Heisler, Bookseller + Publisher

Perfect for fans of Alice Pung, Jade and Emerald introduces readers to an insightful new voice in Australian fiction.

Ben Hunter, Booktopia, Ben's Pick of the Week

Jade & Emerald gives insight to the complexity of mother-daughter relationships, influenced by culture, sexuality, and the universal desire to belong. Michelle See-Tho is an exciting arrival to Australia's literary landscape, and this book proves her prodigious talent as a storyteller.

Zoya Patel

Michelle See-Tho has achieved that near-impossible feat: a story that is both original and timeless. Here is a book that delights in contrasts, whether it be Gigi’s Chanel Number 5 perfume contrasted with the chicken stock smell of Lei Ling’s mother, or an indulgent afternoon tea at Melbourne’s finest hotel contrasted with the experience of wolfing down leftovers in a school toilet cubicle. I read the book greedily, eager to find out what happens next, while also keen to savour each delicious description. See-Tho tackles the big themes of family and sexuality and identity head on, without fear or hesitation, but at its heart, Jade and Emerald is a book about love—the love of a mother for a daughter, a daughter for a mother, and the love between great, if unlikely, friends. This is a remarkable debut from a highly skilled and wonderful Australian writer.

Melanie Cheng