Pink by Lili Wilkinson

pinkTitle: Pink

Author: Lili Wilkinson

ISBN: 9780061926549

Publication Date: 2009

Genre: LGBQT realistic fiction

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14 and up

Plot: Ava has lived a lifestyle that she wishes to change. Ava has been attending a school where she is at the top of her class, which never seems to challenge her to go to new heights. She also lives in a household with extremely liberal, but very caring, parents. Her girlfriend, Chloe, is a big fan of dark colored clothing who is a radical feminist who is also an art enthusiast. Ava wants to experience having a boyfriend, be someone who fits in with the popular crowd, and someone who expresses the color pink – her favorite color. With this in mind, she decides to make a life changing decision and transfers to Billy Hughes High School. While she adjusts to the new student body and the class schedule, she begins to realize that more and more challenging questions about who she really is start to arise.

Critical Evaluation: Wilkinson portrays the internal thought process of Ava very well. Even though Ava knew what she was doing was wrong, she still reinforced her decision making with what seemed like sound reasoning. When some of Ava’s secrets were being revealed in front of Chloe, Ava would continue to lie or not completely tell the truth and her reasoning was usually because she did not want to hurt Chloe. Many times Ava continued to lie and cheat in order to find who she really liked and who she didn’t. The surprising turn of events that Wilkinson reveals in the story captivates a lot of the readers. Certain events such as Jen revealing her sexual orientation to Ava and Ava’s belligerent and drunken behavior at the casting party after the musical performance. Wilkinson was able to paint a very vivid picture in every scene and was also able to bring intensity to the climax in the book when everyone, especially Sam, finds out about Ava being a lesbian and confronts her behind the auditorium during the musical intermission.

Reader’s Annotation: Ava decides to make a life changing decision in order to find out who she really is. Little does she know, this decision will lead her to very challenging situations that can lead to even more confusion.

Author: According Lili Wilkinson’s official website, Wilkinson was able to teach herself how to read when she was six years old. Ever since then, she’s read numerous books and has written a few books as well. Her writing ability was so astounding that at the age of 13, her first published work was in Voiceworks magazine. During her college career, she studied creative arts at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Later she taught English in Japan for a while and returned to Australia. She then got a job at the Centre for Youth Literature, at the State Library of Victoria, where she managed a website about books for teens. Currently, Wilkinson lives in Melbourne and is studying for a PhD.

Curriculum Ties:

  • LGBQT awareness
  • Bullying
  • Identity

Booktalking Ideas:

  • If you had to tell the truth to someone that would truly hurt them, would you lie to make them feel better or reveal the truth?

Challenging Issues:

  • Religious viewpoints
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Sexual content
  • Profanity

Defensive Maneuvers:

  • I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
  • The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
  • Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
  • Remember to mention the awards and honors that the item has received.
  • Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the material.
  • When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.

Why This Book? Pink is able to portray the average teenager who is unsure of who she really is, similar to what many teens experience today. Wilkinson has constructed a very creative storyline that will keep the reader engaged.

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