Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pink, by Lili Wilkinson

"When I first told my parents I was a lesbian, they threw me a coming-out party.  Seriously.  We had champagne and everything.  It was the most embarrassing thing that'd ever happened to me."

Ava is tired of being the best student at her crumby public school, wearing all black all the time, and being a Sophisticated Lesbian.  So she's made the case to her parents to let her attend a chi-chi private school, and has secretly purchased a pink cashmere sweater.  Her intellectual parents and her insanely sophisticated girlfriend, Chloe, are not sure what to make of all this.  Secretly, Ava is hoping to date boys.

This book is Australian, but I think the publishing housed washed all of the Aussie stuff out of it to make it go down smooth for the North American audience.  It could be anywhere.

  • Does a good job of accounting for the fluidity of sexuality and sexual orientation without stooping to writing homosexuality off as "a phase" or "experimenting."
  • Sometimes funny.  Not John Green or E. Lockhart funny, but a mild chuckle here and there.
  • Spoiler alert.  See below if you don't mind spoilage.*
  • The characters didn't feel real to me.  Except for Ava, pretty much everyone is a placeholder--the Too Cool For School Lesbian, The Perky Blonde Popular Girl, etc.  Also, some of them pull some crazy hairpin turns, not just in mood but in personality.  It was jarring.
Recommended for: Hmm.  It is nice to have a book that deals fairly honestly with the messiness of sexual orientation.  I just wish it were a tiny bit better.  Still, I can imagine recommending this book to a teen who is questioning their sexuality, or adding it to a LGBTQ list.

*She doesn't end up dating the dude, as I had assumed from the beginning that she would.  Instead it was a more "things are messy and I'm just not sure who I am yet" kind of conclusion, which seems more realistic, if perhaps less satisfying to some teen readers.

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