These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2011 March
Gr 9 Up-Ava, an Australian teen, has begged her parents to let her transfer from her underachieving high school to an exclusive and rigorous private school. Her parents, open-minded progressives who threw a party to celebrate her coming out, reluctantly agree. Her girlfriend, Chloe, sophisticated, intellectual, and highly possessive, is also not pleased. Ava is immediately befriended by Alexis, petite, perky, popular, and intelligent, who encourages Ava to audition for the school musical. Humiliated by a disastrous audition, she joins the stage crew, made up of the school’s outcasts and oddballs. Ava doesn’t tell anyone about her sexual identity and withdraws from Chloe. She becomes closer to her stage-crew friends, while her more popular friends disdain her involvement with them. Failed attempts at matchmaking, a final argument with Chloe, and the revelation that she is not sure of her sexual orientation create a roller-coaster of emotions. While Ava is a sympathetic character who feels that she has disappointed a lot of people and doesn’t know how to make amends, Chloe becomes increasingly insufferable. Wilkinson authentically captures the social awkwardness of high school life and love. Passionate confessions made by several key characters are a bit over-the-top but don’t distract from the story. Some characters are rather quick to forgive past wrongs, but this is an entertaining story about teen angst, sexual identity, and high school relationships from a promising debut author.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
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Booklist Reviews 2011 January #1
“I never wore pink. Pink wasn’t cool. Pink wasn’t existential,” explains Ava as her story of identity confusion begins. But clad in cotton-candy cashmere, she starts life at a posh new private school where both academic success and a smooth conformity seem the norm. Too bad Ava has to hide her desires from both her aggressively antiestablishment parents and her supersophisticated but desperately jaded girlfriend, Chloe, who’s been left behind in public school. Ava, despite coming out as a lesbian, especially feels the need to hide the thought that she might want to kiss a boy. The change of environment creates its own perplexities, foremost among them Ava’s encounters with a bunch of theater-crew misfits. How to make the world of the “screws,” Chloe, and the more conventional new school friends fit together (or not) powers Ava’s narrative. Written with a great deal of snarky wit, this Australian import never gets overly heavy despite all the hand-wringing. A refreshing addition to the LGBT oeuvre.
Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
The Horn Book
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
When Ava transfers schools, she ditches her girlfriend and black clothes, opting instead for pastels and the pursuit of a boyfriend, in an attempt to be “normal.” When she still doesn’t fit in, she struggles to be okay with being herself–a charming oddball who can’t be labeled. This Australia-set story of teenage rebellion is as unique as its protagonist.
Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2011 April
Much to the chagrin of her girlfriend and parents, Ava decides to transfer to a progressive private high school in the hopes of trying to be “normal”—where she can care about doing well in school, try to fit in with the popular crowd (the Pastels), shed her goth persona, wear pink, and maybe even kiss a boy. To jumpstart her new life, she decides to audition for the school musical, with less than stellar results. With her spectacular audition flop behind her, Ava is still determined to get involved and decides to volunteer with the aptly named and self-proclaimed “stage crew freaks” (aka the Screws). As she tries to mold herself to fit other people’s expectations, she finds she does not fit anywhere. Although the Screws are viewed with disdain by the Pastels, “none of them seemed exhausted from being themselves,” which causes Ava to question herself and her own preconceptions. Australian author Lili Wilkinson takes a witty, refreshing look at high school and adolescence that obliterates stereotypes along the way. The novel is in turn laugh-out-loud funny, endearing, and heartbreaking as Ava repeatedly steps into teenage social land mines—with unexpected results. Because Wilkinson does not rely on stereotypes, the characters are well developed, and interactions between them feel genuine. Ava’s story will undoubtedly engage readers . . . and maybe even cause them question their own assumptions. Give Pink to teens who like their humor with a healthy dose of intelligence, such as fans of John Green.—Sara MartinSimilar to the movie Mean Girls, Pink vividly explores Ava’s quest to belong. She is torn between the perfect Pastels—shallow, gorgeous, and powerful—and the Screws—outcasts who are not afraid to express who they are. Right from the start, her personality comes into focus through clever, raw, and genuine dialogue. Each character becomes real and claims the reader’s heart; it will be hard to forget this heart-warming tale of forgiveness, belonging, and friendship. 4Q,5P.—Raluca Topliceanu, Teen Reviewer. 5Q 4P J S
Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.