Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tulchoke is one of those books everyone has been talking about this year. And I get it. Because as soon as I saw it, I instantly fell in love with the beautiful cover (I mean, just look at it!). I decided to read it before I knew anything about it, and went into the book knowing only that it involved a hero, a villain, and a secret. Because that’s basically all I got out of the synopsis:
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.
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. And I still haven’t decided if I like it. It is told in three alternating perspectives – belonging to Wink, Poppy, and Midnight – and tells the story of some strange events that happen in the lives of some high school students. There is a strong magical realism element, though, even after reading the book, I’m still unsure if there was actually magic involved. What really happened? I’m honestly not that sure I know. This book, as many other reviewers have mentioned, was pretty confusing. I didn’t know what was going on for most of the book, and didn’t quite understand what I was reading until about halfway through. It was somehow both completely bizarre but slightly familiar. Like a fairy tale had bled into the real world.
All the strangest things are true.
But despite the fact that I’m still a bit confused by this book, I also kind of liked it. The writing was strange and original and entirely suited to the story. The structure of the story was interesting and kept me reading even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to. And the twist at the end was definitely unexpected – and I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing plot twists. I also (surprisingly) liked that the characters are so weirdly intense. Normally, I’m not a fan of over-exaggerated characters, especially in young adult fiction, they just seem ridiculous. But Tucholke makes them work in the context of an equally strange and potent story.
Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of. It’s the trifecta.
Would I recommend this book? Maybe. Wink Poppy Midnight is not a book everyone will like. My appreciation of it stems primarily from its strangeness and because the writing is so different. I tend to like weird books. I am drawn to writing styles that feel fresh and original. That’s what I liked about this book. I didn’t dislike the story, but I’m still debating how much I actually enjoyed it. Now that I think about it, I do think this is one of those books that will stick with me for a while – even though I didn’t love it – simply be because it was so unusual. If you’re looking for a dark, peculiar, and unique young adult novel, this might be a good book to pick up.
Have you read Wink Poppy Midnight? What did you think?