How could I explain to Chloe that I wanted rules and homework and standardised testing? I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to be around people who cared about maths and structure and results. Not so much the cadets, though. The truth was, I’d begged my parents to let me change to a private school. I wrote letters and sat a scholarship exam and when I got the acceptance form halfway through first term, I danced around my room like a lunatic.
Ava and her girlfriend Chloe wear black and hang out with artists and intellectuals. Chloe is firmly anti-establishment and Ava is too. Or is she? Hidden in her wardrobe, Ava has a shiny bag containing a pink cashmere jumper. If Chloe discovered her guilty secret she’d laugh herself silly or spurn Ava forever. So Ava pretends that her girly side doesn’t exist – and switches school, pretending to Chloe that she doesn’t want to go.
At her new school, Ava finds herself accepted by a group of shinily perfect Pastels, and decides to try out for the school musical. But when she finds herself consigned to the ranks of the stage crew, a group of misfits, she finds it increasingly hard to balance her growing friendship with the other stage crew, with that with Pastels, and, of course, her relationship with Chloe. With fibs and cover ups, she is digging herself into a big hole – and everything comes unstuck on the opening night of the musical.
Pink is a funny, issues-driven, pink-clad story about self-identity, honesty and friendship. Ava’s first-person narration takes the reader inside the dilemmas of a teen reaching for a sense of self, and while she faces some serious issues, she is also laugh out loud funny, self-deprecating and honest (with the reader, if not always with her friends).
The pink cover suggest the book might be girly and light – but, while it might be funny, it is an important book, dealing with sexual identity, a topic which is under represented in YA fiction. This is a book for all teens.
Pink, by Lili Wilkinson
Allen & Unwin, 2009
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