Review Blog

Sep 01 2009

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2009. ISBN 9781741758344.
(Age 14+) Recommended. Lili Wilkinson is a favourite author of mine and Pink didn't disappoint. Ava thinks that she finally will be able to find herself when she goes to the Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence. Dressed in her new pink cashmere sweater, she is determined to discover her true self. Filled with doubts about her sexuality, her relationship with her girlfriend Chloe and with a burning desire to fit in, Ava makes friends with the popular Pastels, led by Alexis, who are all bright, intelligent and with leading roles in the school musical. Then she joins the Screws, the stage crew who do all the background sets and lighting, and meets another type of person - the school outcasts.
But Ava has secrets. Even though she is now wearing pink, and has washed the dye out of her hair, she has problems working out who her friends are and how to act in this new setting. The theme that you don't always know about your sexual orientation at the age of 16 will be of great interest to teenagers, as they follow Ava's often disastrous attempts to decide between Chloe and Sam. Wilkinson leavens her story with lots of laugh out loud humour and situations that teenagers often find themselves in. Her characters are outstanding: believable, funny and intelligent.
Pink is a clever, brilliantly written story that doesn't talk down to its audience. It tackles big themes, not just sexuality, but loyalty, honesty, knowing yourself, finding friends and becoming independent, in an engrossing novel.
Pat Pledger

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