Review: Pink

PinkPink by Lili Wilkinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ava, please come over here and let me wrap you in a great big hug.

The voice of Ava in this book is a strong one, as are all the characters. None of them feels like a caricature (except maybe Dennis), but he does serve to create a catalyst for Ava’s growth.

Wilkinson deftly explores the central issue of adolescence – Who Am I? – within a unique framework. There are not many novels for teens that deal with confused sexuality (although a number have been published suring the last two years, so maybe the times are a changin’) and Wilkinson shines a light on Ava’s confusion and fear with sympathy and humour.

This is a beautiful novel, and again, one I wish I had read when it first ‘came out’. 🙂

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Review: Angel Fish

Angel FishAngel Fish by Lili Wilkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel about the Childrens Crusade of the middle ages is heart-wrenching, and exposes the futility of religious fanaticism.

Gabriel lives a meagre existence during the Middle Ages. His family is poor, and lives from hand to mouth. When Gabriel meets Stephan, with his blue eyes and christian fervour, Gabriel believes Stephan’s mission to get to the Holy Land in the name ‘Our Lord’, and to defeat the heathen Saracens.

As the boys travel, they gather more and more children to their cause; orphans, the poor, and the pious. But Stephan is not all that he seems and the success of the mission becomes increasing difficult as they journey across Europe in the depths of winter.

Wilkinson increases the tension and the feeling of impending doom as the story moves from Europe, through the Alps and into the African continent. It is well-written, and the depiction of the lives of these children desperate for hope in a harsh world is heart-breaking.

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