Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve TucholkeWink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial Books on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 352

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.

I wanted to read this book from the moment I laid eyes on the gorgeous cover (Look at it. It is Stunning!). I made my peace with the fact that I was going to have to wait until it came out for me to discover what this mysterious book was all about. Luckily I was able to attend ALAMW and while at the Penguin booth I made an inquiry about it and VOILA! I was handed a precious copy of the ARC . THANK YOU PENGUIN TEEN! 

:: cue happy jig and squeeing ::

I had to try hard to read this book slowly, but I was so curious about what the big mystery was. I wanted and NEEDED to know who was the hero, who was the villain and who had the big secret. The book is written in a multi-character point of view, and the chapters are all fairly small, so it was easy to get carried away with how quickly you begin to devour the book.

This book was definitely “different”, it was also weird, strange, and odd. This review is going to sound a bit vague at times, but I don’t want to give anything away. It was not like any other contemporary YA I have read. When I first I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be in the realm of “magical realism”, but it definitely is not, even though the story does have a certain kind of dreamy/eerie feel to it.

Let’s take a look at the three main characters:

Wink is a whimsical and eclectic red-headed girl. She loves fairy tales and pretty much lives in her own little world. I love how different and slightly strange Wink is, and I especially love her imagination and love of fairy tales (it might be because she reminds me a little of myself when I was much younger). Most of her classmates think that she and her family are a bunch of oddballs and often try to make fun of her. Wink ignores them and is basically immune to being bullied. She has five other siblings, all red-heads except for one, and a mother who is a fortune-teller. Their family life is anything but traditional, and they pretty much all do whatever they want and run amok on their farm.

Poppy is the rich, popular and beautiful blonde girl…you know…the one everyone loves to hate (usually without reason, but not in this case). She is spoiled, mean and manipulative. She loves to use people and when she doesn’t get her way everyone around her pays the price. Poppy was definitely not a likable character but I did feel sorry for how shallow her life seemed to be.

Midnight is a sweet yet very lonely boy. His mother and brother moved to France leaving him and his father behind. He’s trying to get away from Poppy’s web when his father moves them next door to Wink’s farm. Now he’s caught between both girls and unsure of what to do.

Right at the beginning, we find out that Poppy has been using Midnight for her own selfish reasons and that they are having a sexual relationship. Midnight is at first infatuated with Poppy, but she does not care about him at all. As Midnight is coming to terms with how toxic Poppy is, his father moves them next door to Wink and her family farm. From the moment he meets Wink he likes her, but it isn’t anything lustful. Midnight feels at ease with Wink, and that makes him happy. He wants to be done with Poppy, but you don’t break-up with Poppy she breaks-up with you. Once Midnight and Wink start hanging out together Poppy is furious even though she doesn’t really care about Midnight. Poppy can’t stand not being the center of attention or not being wanted. It’s about here that the story starts to take off but like I said it’s a strange tale and no amount of explaining it will really do it justice. This is not a love triangle by any means, and though Midnight and Wink instantly sort of gravitate to one another upon their first meeting it didn’t feel like “instant love”. The don’t act infatuated with one another and are not kissing each other after every other sentence.

I very much enjoyed the writing style April Tucholke uses in this book. It’s poetic and the imagery jumps off the page. It cast a spell over me, and I could have read this book completely uninterrupted until the very end if it weren’t for my very busy schedule. I loved that Wink lived in her fairy tale books and was so strange and quirky. Her family was so cute and reminded me a little of that famous red-headed family the Weasleys from a certain magical series.

I can see where this book probably won’t be for everyone, and why some people will just not like it. The weirdness and strangeness of the story might be off-putting to the kind of reader that like a more “concrete” story but for me, it was a divinely pleasant read from start to finish. If there is one thing I could change about the book, it would be how it ended. I wish it could have been a bit more “certain”. I was left wondering and slightly confused about what I had just read. Maybe that was the point of the ending, or maybe it was just so different from what I was hoping for that it clashed with the ending I had already created in my mind.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little different, a bit dark and a tad mysterious. It’s a unique story full of atmosphere and vivid in detail. The writing is beautiful, and you’ll get completely immersed into the world April Tucholke creates within these pages. Nothing is what is seems to be and everything has the potential for change. I can’t wait to read more of April Tucholke’s books.

Happy Reading!