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$42

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After spending $18, she had 12u left.

Original money → $18 + 12u

She then spent another 7/12 of the remainder = 7u 

She was now left with 12u – 7u = 5u of her remainder

 

Given: 5u is 1/3 of her original money,

Original money = 5u × 3 = 15u

$18 + 12u = 15u

3u = 18

u = 6

 

Amount spent on Chinese story books → 7u = $42

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u = 6

Original money → 18 + 12u = 18 + 72 = $90

Spent $18, left 12u → $72

Spent 7u = $42, left → 72 – 42 = $30

$30 is 1/3 of original $90

 

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