Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight April Genevieve Tucholke

Title: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: N/A
Pages: 247
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: March 22nd 2016 

      “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 knows.
      Someone is lying.

swirl (2)

“Sometimes people just leave, Midnight. They realize they are on the wrong path, or that they are in the wrong story, and they just go off in the middle of the night and leave.”

I finished April Genevieve Tucholke’s novel Wink Poppy Midnight and had to pause a moment afterward to ponder exactly what it was I had read. If you’re looking for a novel with a straight-forward plot, a clear focus and neat conclusion, this novel isn’t for you. Wink Poppy Midnight reads like a mystery novel with paranormal elements. You’re left guessing what is true and what isn’t, if you can believe the ghost stories and tarot card readings or if it’s just an eccentric interest for the characters. I went into this novel knowing very little about what it was about, save for the pithy synopsis on the dust jacket and it wasn’t until half way through the book that a definitive conflict emerges. But just when you think you know what is going on, you inevitably get thrown for a loop. In the end, I’m not sure I’ve fully comprehended what happened in the novel, but I’m left dazzled by Tucholke’s writing and her wayward characters.

What Wink Poppy Midnight lacks in plot it makes up for in character study. Tucholke’s three main leads are stark contrasts of one another with distinct voices and unreliable narratives. Midnight’s perspective largely takes place in the present. When the story is told through his point of view, the plot feels like it’s moving forward. This is an interesting choice because much of Midnight’s identity is a rooted in his past: his mother’s abandonment, the longing for his brother, and his tumultuous relationship with Poppy.

If you were to imagine a caricature of a beautiful, spoiled rich girl who is used to getting what she wants, you’d picture someone like Poppy. She’s unapologetic in her narcissism, cruel and calculating. A self-proclaimed bully, there isn’t much to like about her character, but her voice is the most compelling of the three. Her perspective focuses on the past and has scenes of introspection that you wouldn’t expect from someone who appears to very much live in the now. By the end of the novel, I’m not entirely sure I learned to sympathize with the character, but I did learn to see her in a different way than how she’s first presented at the beginning of the novel.

Wink’s perspective might have been my favorite. There’s an untainted innocence to her character, especially in how she views other people, that really draws you in. There’s also a dreamy element to her voice that feels fantastical as her love for stories often has her imagining the world to be very different than what it is. She and her family are delightfully strange and if this novel revolved solely around the Bell family, I wouldn’t complain.

Wink Poppy Midnight is not for every reader. Tucholke’s novel has that same atmospheric tone I usually associate with magical realism. Much of the conflict takes place within the characters themselves and for some this may feel like the story is underdeveloped. For me, the novel’s reliance on its characters, who are unlikable, strange, yet so intriguing, make it far too fascinating a story to dislike.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

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12 thoughts on “Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

  1. I’ve seen this book in so many book photos lately but I’ve not actually seen a review of it! I was considering buying it anyway just because the cover is so pretty, but now your review has convinced me I need to buy this book if I see it in a shop. This isn’t something I’d probably pick up on my own, but your review makes it seem like it isn’t your typical romance/contemporary and I should give it a chance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been trying to slow down my book buying because I’ve been going a little crazy lately, but I may have to make buy this one anyway! I’ve not been in the mood for contemporaries for a while now but this one does seem intriguing! Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! You like it!! So I’ve been telling people that I’d like The Rose and the Dagger, but secretly I’m hoping for The Star-touched Queen. Then when I was at Target this weekend, I bought THIS BOOK–Wink Poppy Midnight. Ha ha. I’m such a disastrous spontaneous fickle. The book just looked to pretty and the felt-like cover was so smooth. I’m a sucker for all the senses. 😀

    Like

  3. This is one of those books that I keep reading about and I STILL have no idea what the heck it’s about. I was going to get this a few times but the mixed reviews kind of put me off for the most part. But your review made it seem like it’s an awesome book, so maybe I shall pick it up after all! I absolutely love that cover though – it’s like cover perfection!

    Liked by 1 person

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