Reading Level: Grades 7+
What does pink mean to you? Does it mean a little girl’s bedroom, wallpapered with ponies, princesses, ballerinas and unicorns? A color occasionally featured in your wardrobe? A bonafide, lip-glossed, perfect 'Plastic' a la Mean Girls? Or is pink a color you hate with every dark black fiber of your being?
For Ava, pink is a secret. Pink is the color, the person, that she wants to become – a girl who likes color instead of cloaking herself in black, hiding behind the monochrome lipstick and hair matched perfectly with black, black, black and more black clothing. Ava and her longtime girlfriend, Chloe, have been a dark duo for most of high school; Ava has not had a problem with that at all. At least not until now.
Ava wants to explore her pink, preppy side, but she’s afraid of Chloe’s feminist, antiestablishment and anti…pretty much everything, except Ava and her freethinking parents. What’s more, Ava isn’t 100% sure that she’s a lesbian anymore. It isn’t that she doesn’t love Chloe, or that she doesn’t like girls anymore; she just wonders what it’s like playing for the other team. But in order to explore those desires, she would have to leave Chloe, something Ava isn’t ready to do. So rather than confront Chloe about her identity-altering questions, Ava applies to a new school for the next school year – Billy Hughes.
Before her first day at Billy Hughes, Ava spends hours at the hairdresser stripping years of black dye out of her hair. She prepares her first day outfit – a pink cashmere sweater previously hidden away in the very bottom of her closet. Everything is ready for her new life as a pink.
Everything goes perfectly on Ava’s first day – Alexis, obviously one of the most popular girls in school, invites Ava to her lunch table, and within just a few bites, Ava’s future in the school as a popular girl (a Pastel, in this novel) is secured. All she needs to do now is keep up her façade as a sort-of-Goth with Chloe, and gain a part in the school play with Alexis, Ella-Grace, and Vivian.
When she bombs her audition, Ava joins stage crew, in the hopes that she’ll still be able to hang out with Ethan, the hot guy Alexis is trying to set her up with. (I mean really, who better to test one’s sexuality with than a super-hot theater guy named Ethan?) But as you no doubt have already guessed, Ava’s lies begin to snowball – and fast.
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More books by Lili Wilkinson
If you liked Pink, try reading these other books about:
Girls who lie about themselves:
Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Boy Proof by Cecil Castelluci
Girls struggling with their own sexuality:
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan