Wink Poppy Midnight by April Tucholke
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened?
Someone is lying.
What I Liked:
I'm just going to say this now - this review is going to be vague and weird and probably not make a lot of sense. Which is fine, because it'll reflect the book really nicely. You'll see!
This book was so strange. All of Tucholke's books are strange. I loved Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and really liked Between the Spark and Burn. I liked this new book too! Tucholke weaves a beautiful and strange tale of two girls and a boy, each the hero and villain of their story.
This book is so strange, I don't even know how to summarize it. Usually I'd try to summarize the book in my own words, in the second paragraph of this section. I don't even know where to start. We have Wink, how is one of those weird Bell children. Wink is quiet and imperturbable, impossible to bully despite being a perfect target. She's a dreamer, living in books of magic and fairy tales. Midnight is lonely boy whose mother and stepbrother moved to France, leaving him and his father. Poppy is a mean, cruel bully, a girl who has all the attention.
This book is told from each character's first-person point-of-view. The story starts with Midnight's. In the beginning, we find out that Midnight and Poppy have a sexual relationship. Poppy doesn't care about Midnight, but Midnight is infatuated with her. They're neighbors. And then he and his father move to an old house next to Wink's farm. Midnight decides that it's time to let Poppy go. But you leave Poppy when she lets you go, not when you want. Midnight doesn't want to be anything to her anymore. Especially when he officially meets Wink, and feels peace with her.
And then things get weird. Poppy doesn't like that Midnight is walking away from her. Sure, she doesn't care about him. She doesn't care about the other two boys she has sex with, either. But she doesn't want anyone to not want her, or not want to be her. Everyone hates her, and she knows it a little, but she craves the attention that her parents don't give her.
So when Midnight starts hanging around Wink... that's when the story takes off. I won't spill anything more. I never liked Poppy, but it was intriguing to be in her head. I didn't hate her, but I didn't like her at all, but I felt a little bad for her too.
I liked Wink, with her weird tendencies and her head-in-the-clouds way. She's very smart, and eclectic. My favorite character had to be Midnight though. As much as this story is about Poppy and her jealousy, and Wink and her determination to live a fairy tale, the story seemed to move around Midnight. Everything came back to Midnight. His character development was the most important, of the three of them.
You're probably thinking, this book has love triangle written all over it. It actually does not! Wink and Midnight are a thing pretty much from the moment they meet. Before they meet, Poppy has her claws in Midnight. But he knows how toxic whatever they have is (they are not dating, and Poppy is having sex with other people besides Midnight). The romance is strange, definitely not a type that you're used to seeing in YA... you'll have to experience it for yourself.
This whole book, really. You have to read it to know how strange and mystical and odd the book is. I can't even summarize it, or explain specific things I liked and disliked. It's so different from other books in YA, and not just in terms of the writing style. This book is weird! How many times have I used that word? Probably too many - but you get what I'm saying!
I liked the parallel story that was being told. Wink reads a story to her younger Bell siblings, with Midnight listening. This story kind of parallels the actual story. Which makes sense, because Wink wants to be living a story, a fairy tale. Interesting part of this book!
I enjoyed this book, weirdness and all. There is a bit of mystery to it, coming down to the end. There seems to be paranormal elements, but it's a contemporary novel. I liked this book a lot! If you haven't read one of Tucholke's books, I highly recommend doing so, to experience how vastly different this book is, from most YA books!
What I Did Not Like:
This is one of those books that leaves you wondering, am I even sure of anything that I just read?! I had that feeling a lot, especially as the book started to wrap up. Not a bad thing at all! Just slightly bothersome if you're like me and want concrete statements, not the go-around. Also, I would have liked the romance to be something else (not saying anything specific), though I totally see why the author went about it the way she did. *vague Alyssa is vague*
Would I Recommend It:
I personally recommend this book (or Tucholke's debut duology), her books are ones that you want to experience. There are so different from most YA books, in almost every way. Unconventional writing style, storytelling, character development, world-building, romance, ending. Everything is nothing like you've seen (in my opinion)! And the stories are good, too.
4 stars. Another Tucholke success, for me! I liked this book (a standalone, yay!), and I can't wait to read the next story Tucholke has for us, whenever that may be.
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!