Pink – Lili Wilkinson

“’You’re leaving?’
Chloe dropped my hand.
‘I know, it sucks,’ I lied ‘My parents think I’ll get better marks at a new school’ Another lie.
‘The fascists’ said Chloe, which was kind of hilarious given that my parents met at the Feminist-Socialist-Anarchist Collective at university”
Ava has everything she could want, good grades, a beautiful girlfiend and parents who are so understanding that they through her a coming-out party when she told them she was a lesbian. So why isn’t it enough? She wants to try something different; she wants to push her boundaries, which is why she’s applied to attend The Billy Hughes for Academic Excellence. She wants to reinvent herself and thinks it’s working when on her first day she’s invited to sit with the popular girly girls at lunch. But when they all audition for the schools musical and Ava makes a fool of herself she decides that Stage Crew will have to do, even if Alexis refers to them as the ‘freaks.’ But will Ava be able to keep up her shiny new persona and juggle her popular new friends with the stage crew freaks AND Chloe?

***
I know Lili Wilkinson is pretty damn awesome from reading Scatterheart a few months ago, and as soon as I read the synopsis of Pink I knew I would love it. Pink is a coming of age LGBT story which isn’t about coming out and isn’t all about being gay; what’s not to love? I’m so glad that the book lived up to my expectations and its going to be high on my recommended reading list for years to come!
Pink follows Ava through what I can only term as a breakdown. She’s not sure who she is anymore and to be perfectly honest I’m not surprised. It must be confusing to be surrounded by people who want you to be something so badly that they don’t give you chance to be yourself. Her parents are hippies and couldn’t be happier about her all-black wardrobe and sexuality. Whilst I think its great that Ava’s parents are good to see she’s not being a conformist sheep, they go about everything to completely wrong way! Then there’s Chloe, Chloes is so busy slagging off the world that I felt that Ava was scared to even suggest anything other than what Chloe wanted to do. I would have hated Chloe, she’s one of those people who have to be so out there different that they don’t care about anyone else, even though you can tell that really they ONLY care about everyone else, and what everyone thinks about them.
Its no wonder Ava is confused and wants to break away from al this at Billy Hughes but I think shes trying to prove so much of a point to herself that she completely changes when she’s there. There were times in the book that I really didn’t like Ava but I guess you have to become someone you aren’t to know who you are and that’s really what this story is about. It’s all about going through the motions to discover your true self and as cheesy as that sounds Lili Wilkinson really pushes this point forward brilliantly. I really wish I had this book when I was a teenagerbecasue it took me years to figure that just because I was different didn’t mean that I had to go from one extreme to the other, and this is what Ava discovers here. I could totally see myself in Ava and all my emotions were drawn to the surface whilst reading this book.
Theres a lot of humour with this book, just as much as there is seriousness and I loved it all. I did think that in some places the humour was above me… I’m sorry to shock you all but I’m not smart and some of the stuff that the people at Billy Hughes said was well above me… however I think this worked in the books favour as it made the characters really stand out for who they were and how there are different types of smart people.
The characters really were my favourite part of this book. Ava was totally relatable even if at some points she was annoying. Chloe filled me with so much anger that I wanted to slap her. The girly girls were annoying but also quite fun because they weren’t your stereotype Barbies, they were actually smart! Then we have the stage crew, they all had their own little characteristics which made them stand out and I loved their demeanour around each other. They were so at ease and happy with each other that they were like a family and I would have loved to be a part of that family! They would be the group that I would immediately try to be-friend at a new school, and there’s good reason for that!
Pink will make you laugh, it will also more than likely make you shed a tear. It’s a full on emotional rollercoaster but there’s nothing better than the message it puts across. I loved every second of this book and I would seriously recommend it to every teen, even if the cover might put off some boys *wink* I cannot wait to get my hands on some more Lili Wilkinson!
Pink was first published in August 2009 by Allen and Unwin Australia. My copy was purchased from Foyles.
  • Wonderful review. I totally agree with everything you’ve said here and I loved this book!

  • I’ve had this book for AGES and I’ve still not read it. Really must get on that.

  • I loved this book so much, so pleased to see that you did too.

  • What a great review. x