Pink by Lili Wilkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It all starts with a pink cashmere sweater.
That's what Ava wants to wear instead of her usual goth all-black attire. Because, you see, Ava is a lesbian and a feminist and does not wear pink. Or maybe she isn't. What is sure is that Ava is in the middle of a crisis, with her girlfriend, with her beliefs, with her sexual orientation.
By applying to a posh private school, she hopes to get a fresh start and be able to experiment being someone else from whom she is usually expected to be.
Things don't work out exactly as Ava expected though, and soon enough she is caught in a spiral of lies, betrayals and humiliations which she will have a hard time disentangling herself from.
Will Ava eventually find her true self?
There is one specific reason why I thought this book was just above ok but could not completely like it: it really, really goes against who I am.
I do NOT like parents (Ava's) who, under a faux intelligentsia liberalism, really mask their snobbish, compartmentalized elitism and constrict their children in this overachieving, supposedly progressive but really just... discriminating lifestyle.
I do NOT like supposedly emancipated lesbian
Most of all I do not like a spineless MC, who not only is close to being devoid of personality - actually a natural result of being subjected to the pressure of my two above-mentioned dislikes - but who is unable to stand up for herself and needs to lie, hurt other people and just be hypocritical for a good part of the book.
Much less do I like to read about them.
These were my biggest problems with Pink.
Add to that the fact that the school Ava decides to move to is really a joke, populated by these unrealistically clichéd students such as Ethan and Alexis OR that I found the turn of events with Alexis and the moviethon fairly unbelievable and you got yourself the explanation for my rating.
What I did like though was the writing, smooth and effortless, and some of the characters, namely the Screws, who were the most likable and the most believable, in my opinion.
The dialogues between Ava and Sam were pretty brilliant and I liked Sam quite a lot. Actually, part of my enjoyment started when Ava's castle of lies began to miserably crash and, end in end, she got a - partial - redemption. In fact, I quite liked her closing speech. But it was way, way too late for me to take back my general annoyance.
I don't know if the author made all the characters purposefully so unlikable in order to build a climax and then give us a long-agonized happy ending, but if it is so, it was too stretched and too... agonized, for me at least.
But you know what? In retrospect, I should have known it wouldn't work for me. When I read the dedication at the beginning of the book to David Levithan and then the author pulls a musical in the plot, I should have suspected.
Book, are you Australian? Because I really didn't notice.
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