03 July 2012

"Pink" by Lili Wilkinson

PinkPink by Lili Wilkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: fiction, young adult
On my TBR list?: no

Summary, from Goodreads.com:

Ava Simpson is trying on a whole new image. Stripping the black dye from her hair, she heads off to the Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence, 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.

This book struck the perfect balance for me. It wasn't too sweet with everything tied up in a perfect bow at the end, but it also wasn't part of the current trend to put death, rape, bullying, and other strong topics into every young adult novel. Finding a book that didn't have vampires, witches, or any other supernatural beings in it was nice, too. I don't read that much YA these days, but I do sift through to find books for my kids and I think we are all getting burned out on the magical creatures.

My 15-year-old daughter C1 read this several weeks before I did and had a strong reaction to it. She really disliked several of the characters that she thought were mean and stuck up. Reading it from my perspective as an adult far removed from my teenage years, I can see where she was coming from but I was more forgiving of the characters. I remember what it was like to put on a facade of being SO alternative and too-cool-for-school to cover up the fact that I didn't know what I was doing or where I fit in. Ava's girlfriend Chloe, with her chic 1940s togs and sophisticated literature, was the girl I was aiming to be as a teenager. Strangely, I also identify with Ava's mother Pat who is definitely NOT the image of traditional femininity yet ends up with a daughter who revels in wearing pink and girly clothes.

I think this would make a great mother-daughter book club read, especially if you have a daughter who has been open with you about struggling with her image and where she fits with her friends. The mentions of underage drinking, smoking, and a few curse words in the book lead me to suggest that you don't hand it to a kid under 15.

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