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Review: Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Young Adult, Contemporary, GLBT
Hardcover $16.99, Ebook $9.99 (HARPERTEEN, 320 pages)
Releases: February 8th, 2011
ISBN# 0061926531

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.
Humor, heart, and the joys of drama—on- and offstage—combine in Ava's delight-fully colorful journey of self-discovery.

Author Site: liliwilkinson.com.au

Know Thyself (5 stars)

I usually sum up a book's plot in my own words at the start of my reviews but this one doesn't need it. The blurb will give you what you need to know as far as that goes. What it can't tell you though is how intelligent, deep and thought provoking this book is while still being entertaining. Often we see a teenaged girl portrayed in cookie-cutter stereotypes seeking ways to fit in or break out of fitting in. Ava is so much more complex than that. She doesn't know who she really is yet because she's been told she has to be one thing or another and this is her adventure in finding out who she is.

Amidst humor and timely pop culture references Ava's journey raises questions about sexuality, gender, stereotypes and what it really means to fit in. Through her lies and sins of omission Ava manages to alienate friends while endearing herself to others. Does she like girls or does she like boys? But does she even have to pick one or the other? For me that was what truly struck a chord with me. Why couldn't Ava—or any other teenager—be attracted to both? Why couldn't she wear her fuzzy pink sweater with her black pants?

Even though I'm long past my teens I remember how I struggled with seeing the preppy crowd in their beautiful, expensive clothing from fancy chain stores but still liked the vintage tees I bought at thrift shops. I loved hanging out with the smart girl and the goth boy and the sporty upperclassmen. But I never fit in anywhere. I wish I'd had this book then because what I gained from adult life and this book is a perspective on figuring out who you are. You don't have to conform to society's ideas nor do you have to rebel against everything either. Learn who you are and be happy with who you are.

I wish I could elaborate further on what I took from this book but I think it will be different for each reader and my takings were highly personal. It's entertaining, funny and so-very-smart I almost couldn't put it down. It made me cry. It made me laugh. It reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club. It made me want to go out and buy black jeans and a hot pink sweater. It made me wish I liked musicals. It made me want to read it again. It made me want to give it to every teenager (and girls in particular) to read. It impressed me with its strength as a GBLT read for teens. It made me wish I had a copy to giveaway on my blog.

Simply put, I loved it and I'm saving my copy for when my children are old enough to gain something from reading it. It may not be for everyone with its themes but as a book where the heroine is trying to figure out who she is I believe most of the targeted audience will relate on a basic level. If any of the blurb appeals in concept I think you'll enjoy Pink even if only as an entertaining story, not a lesson-to-be-learned tale.

Other Reviews:
Reading Rants
I Was A Teenage Book Geek
Prom Mafia
Super Reader Girl's Reviews on Goodreads

Notes: I received an unsolicited ARC from the publisher.

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