Book Review

Book Review : Pink by Lili Wilkinson.

“The pink jumper was glowing in my grey bedroom like a tiny bit of Dorothy’s Oz in boring black-and-white Kansas. Pink was for girls.”

Ava Simpson is trying on a whole new image. Stripping the black dye from her hair, leaving her uber-cool girlfriend, Chloe, behind.

Ava is quickly taken under the wing of perky, popular Alexis who insists that: a) she’s a perfect match for handsome Ethan; and b) she absolutely must audition for the school musical.

But while she’s busy trying to fit in – with Chloe, with Alexis and her Pastel friends, even with the misfits in the stage crew – Ava fails to notice that her shiny reinvented life is far more fragile than she imagined.

I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this YA book so I thought it was time I read it to see what all the fuss was about. Following Ava’s attempts to find out who she is and where she belongs in the very uncertain world of being a teenager, the book sucked me in within the first few pages and I found it hard to put down.

The plot of Pink really spoke to me. Ava’s struggle to be the person she thinks other people want her to be when everyone wants her to be something different, quickly leads her to living a triple life; a version for her parents and girlfriend, a version for the cool kids at her new school, and a version for the stage crew she ends up working with on the school musical. Understandably this all just complicates Ava’s life when deep down the question she’s really trying to find the answer to is “Who am I?”

I loved the character of Ava and found I could really identify with her. The teenage version of me was never cool enough to aspire to fit in with the cool and popular crowd, but I did spend a lot of time trying to be the person I thought everyone wanted to be. When Ava’s efforts went wrong and she ended up hurting people I really felt for her. Whilst the book is about Ava there is a whole cast of supporting characters who are brilliantly created. So many of the other teenagers in the book reminded me of people I was at high school with.

I found that I got wrapped up in the world of Pink really quickly. The way it’s written just jumps off the page, the dialogue is convincing and the humour is well written. I felt that it dealt really well with the issues it covered, they were treated realistically and factually with no judgement attached to any of them. I think this is a book I would really have appreciated reading when I was a teenager, though it still really resonated with me now.

Pink is published in paperback by Allen & Unwin in the UK priced £6.99

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