The pink jumper was practically glowing in my grey bedroom. It was like a tiny bit of Dorothy's Oz in boring old black-and-white Kansas. Pink was for girls.
Ava Simpson is trying on a whole new image. Stripping the black dye from her hair, she heads off to the Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence, leaving her uber-cool girlfriend, Chloe, behind.
Ava is quickly taken under the wing of perky, popular Alexis who insists that: a) she's a perfect match for handsome Ethan; and b) she absolutely must audition for the school musical.
But while she's busy trying to fit in - with Chloe, with Alexis and her Pastel friends, even with the misfits in the stage crew - Ava fails to notice that her shiny reinvented life is far more fragile than she imagined.
'Pink is laugh-out-loud and cringe-in-corners funny. An ouch-sharp, thoroughly modern comedy.' Simmone Howell
'I laughed, I cried and I occasionally burst into song.' Justine Larbalestier
'Fun, razor-sharp, and moving, Pink - like love - is a many-splendoured thing.' John Green
Ava has a lot going for her. She's smart and has sophisticated Chloe as a girlfriend, but she wants to reinvent herself as someone more traditionally feminine like "girls who liked boys." When she transfers to an elite private school, she is taken in by a group of high-achievers, but finds it difficult to fit in with their seeming perfection. Rejected from the school play, Ava volunteers with the stage crew instead, and begins bonding with the misfits who build sets. But her popular friends judge them harshly, and Ava also faces constant anxiety as she tries to keep her relationship with Chloe a secret. Though readers will likely empathize with Ava's efforts to compartmentalize her life, the thoughtful conversations she has about the complexity of gender and identity, both with her stage crew friends and her parents, make up the strongest parts of Australian author Wilkinson's story. Ava's worlds collide in a melodramatic conclusion that strains believability, but her final realization ("Maybe I didn't have to choose for sure now") is cogent and satisfying. Ages 12 up.