Pink by Lili Wilkinson

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Pink by Lili Wilkinson ISBN: 978-0061926549, HarperTeen; Reprint edition (October 30, 2012)

Plot Summary:

Ava Simpson is in a lesbian relationship and hangs out with a clique that dresses almost exclusively in black, but secretly she is not sure that she is lesbian and she longs to wear pink, a color that her ultra liberal parents discouraged her from wearing when she was a little girl. She convinces her parents to allow her to attend Billy Hughes High School, a private school for gifted students. In switching schools, Ava hopes to try out a new identity that does not include her overbearing girlfriend, Chloe. Ava attempts to fit in with the “pastels” popular girls who are always immaculately groomed, but after a failed audition attempt at a school play, Ava finds herself gravitating towards the Screws (stage crew), a group of misfits that she had been warned about by the pastels. Ava soon realizes that she cannot leave her problems behind and a series of embarrassing situations ensue.

Critical Evaluation: 

Pink’s literary strength lies in the voice of the characters. The dialogue between the characters is witty and feels natural. The character of Ava also feels like a real teenager, and shares many of the same fears that other teenagers do: where do I fit in? Do my friends really like me? At the same time, Ava is also dealing with a sexual identity crisis. She has feelings for her girlfriend, but is not sure that she is lesbian. She wants to try a heterosexual relationship and she also wants a chance to decide for herself who she wants to be, but feels that she cannot do that in the shadow of her girlfriend, who has an extremely dominant personality. Ava chooses to lie to those around her instead and so is forced to lead a sort of double life in which exposure is a constant fear. Ava is a character that many teens will be able to relate to and Pink is a good introduction to helping teens understand LGBTQ themes and issues.

Information about the author:

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Lili Wilkinson was first published when she was twelve, in Voiceworks magazine. After studying creative arts at Melbourne University, Ms. Wilkinson began working for the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, where she managed a website for teens about books and reading. She spends most of her time reading and writing books for teens, but when she’s not doing that, she’s usually hanging out with friends, watching DVDs, and making monsters out of wool. Pink is her U.S. debut.

Reader’s Annotation:

Ava Simpson is in a lesbian relationship, has very liberal and understanding parents, and hangs out with a clique that dresses almost exclusively in black, but Ava is not sure if that is what she wants. Ava has a pink sweater that she has bought secretly that she intends to wear on her first day at Billy Hughes, a private school, where Ava hopes she can try out a different identity.

Genre:

Realistic Fiction. LGBTQ Literature

Curriculum Ties:

N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

Have you ever just wanted to make a fresh start.

Reading Level/Interest Age:

Grades 8 and up

Challenge Issues:

Language, LGBTQ Issues.

I would make sure that all material was purchased in accordance with my library’s collection development policy and make sure to keep a file containing positive reviews for books that I thought might be challenged. In the event of a challenge, I would actively listen to the parent’s concern and ask if they had read the book. I would then explain why the book had been added to the collection and provide with the reviews and a copy of the collection development policy. I would affirm that they are within their rights to limit what their children read, but that other parents also have the right to determine what their children can read. If all else failed, I would provide the parent with a reconsideration form.

Reasons for inclusion:

This book was required reading for LIBR 265

 
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