Release Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
Description: Fountain Bookstore
Ava has a secret. She is tired of her ultracool attitude, ultra-radical politics, and ultrablack clothing. She's ready to try something new—she's even ready to be someone new. Someone who fits in, someone with a gorgeous boyfriend, someone who wears pink.
Transferring to Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence is the perfect chance to try on a new identity. But just in case things don't work out, Ava is hiding her new interests from her parents, and especially from her old girlfriend.
Secrets have a way of being hard to keep, though, and Ava finds that changing herself is more complicated than changing her wardrobe. Even getting involved in the school musical raises issues she never imagined. As she faces surprising choices and unforeseen consequences, Ava wonders if she will ever figure out who she really wants to be.
Pink is the perfect book for anyone who has every struggled to find where they fit.
I'm normally not a fan of contemporary young adult fiction or contemporary anything fiction for that matter. Well, I think I've been converted and am ready to welcome more contemporary onto my bookshelf thanks to Lili Wilkinson's American debut.
Ava, who is desperately searching for self, leaves her school for a more academic and progressive environment, but rigor isn't her real motivation. She wants the chance to reinvent herself, to wear pink and date boys and see what it's like to finally be part of the in-crowd. She's instanted accepted but a strange twist of fate places her squarely between two groups - the perfect Pastels and the outcast Screws.
The first think thst struck me about this book is how surprisingly intellectual it is. Not only is the plot smart, the characters are quick and intelligent as well. Some of this stems from the fact that Ava attends the Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence, but no matter whether she is hanging out with her girlfriend Chloe, the Pastels or the Screws, the conversation is clever. Debates about things like the etimology of the word "homosexual" and the idea that pink doesn't actually exist within the color spectrum had me laughing out loud. (That's probably years of inner nerd coming out.) I was genuinely impressed with the depth of characterization, the careful crafting of each groups dynamics, and the development of Ava's relationship with the members of each group.
One of my favorite things about this book is Sam. All of the characters individual stories resonated with me, but I connected with Sam. He's not a popular kid and doesn't try to be. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and is comfortable with his flaws. When Ava firsts meets him it's trial by fire. She has to prove that she is more than just a pretty face. That she has substance. I don't think I've ever fallen for a YA guy as hard as I fell for Sam.
Ava's a different person with each group, which felt entirely believable to me because she feels she has to be to fit in with Chloe, the Pastels and the Screws. But she isn't the only one who is hiding bits of herself in a quest for social acceptance. Her journey is one of reconciliation, not with any particular person, but with herself. Pink is a novel about being real and accepting who you are even if you don't exactly know who that is yet.