Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Goodreads Score: 3.42

My Score: 4

Things I Disliked: Plot could be confusing at times.

Things I Liked: Voice, voice, voice.

Review in a sentence: Watch as poor, sweet Midnight tries to find out what the fuck is going on.

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From Goodreads

“Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain.  Every story needs a secret. 

Wink. Poppy. Midnight.

Two girls. One boy. One summer. 

One bad thing. 

What really happened?

Someone knows. Someone is lying.” 

(From book flap)

I’m interning at two different jobs this summer. One is for a small publishing press, and the other is a book scouting position. Because of this, I am constantly submerged in all things books (living the dream!), and as a result, my TBR list has grown to be about a million miles long.

However, while WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT wasn’t actually on my list, the cover (a colorful mix of icons against a black background) and title intrigued me enough that I read the first page. I bought it immediately.

April Genevieve Tucholke writes with such a distinctive voice–clear and eloquent, not overly verbose, but somehow melodic. The book is first person narration told from the alternating viewpoints of the three title characters (yes, Wink, Poppy, and Midnight are the names of the characters, not some strange code) and each character is written with a strong, clear, very Them style that you can immediately recognize. I was hooked from chapter one, and continued to be hooked.

That was the highlight of the book.

The plot itself was strange. Which doesn’t mean bad. Just…interesting. Essentially, we have a total mean girl named Poppy who likes to play people just for kicks. Poor Midnight, so sweet and clueless, has been in love with Poppy for a long time, and she alternates between mocking him and sleeping with him. Towards the beginning of the book, Midnight moves from Poppy’s neighborhood to a house next to Wink, who is the local oddball. Midnight starts to shake off Poppy’s nefarious clutches as he becomes closer to Wink, but Poppy does not approve. The not-so-love triangle comes to its peak one night in the forest, in an abandoned house rumored to be haunted. There, something happens…but nobody knows quite what.

From the cover, we know that there’s a hero, a villain, and a liar in the book, and as the book is told in first person, it’s clear we have a classic case of the Unreliable Narrator. This provides tension as we wonder who has the nerve to be lying to us in their own thoughts–or, if not lying, at least deflecting the truth.

But when truths start to be revealed, I was left doing the whole ‘wuuuuuuuh’ thing. Not in an ‘oh my God, wait WHAT, WHAT, WHAAAAT. AMAZING PLOT TWIST’ sense. More like in an ‘I’m so confused, but ok, cool. That’s fine. I’m fine’ way.

In a sense, the blurry surrealism of the plot mimics the eccentricities of the characters, and after the book I was left feeling thoughtful, torn, and ready to find another one of Tucholke’s works.

Have you read WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT? If so, what’d you think? What books are on your TBR lists? What are you favorite books with unreliable narrators? Let me know in the comments below! 

Currently Reading: STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi and COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas 

Recently Finished: NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman 

 

Bookstore Love

A home is where the heart is.

Well, my heart is wherever the books are, and that has always meant that I’ve counted bookstores and libraries among my homes. I grew up camped out in the cafe of Barnes and Nobles, and navigating through the shelves of my local library (weighed down by towering stacks of hardcovers). My friends have always known to keep a firm grip on me whenever I spot a bookstore, because if they loosen they’re hold, I’ll dart inside. And once I’m inside, I can’t stay for mere minutes. Impossible!

 

This weekend, I was up in Sag Harbor, Long Island with a few friends. We were passing to the grocery store for Smores ingredients (because we planned to tell scary stories that night, and you can’t tell scary stories without marshmallows roasting in the background) but when I passed by an adorable bookstore, Harbor Books, I carefully backed away from my friends and darted through the entrance, leaving them, mystified, on the streets. I had to!

And once inside, I couldn’t even feel guilty. This independent bookstore was small but charming. Two cats (pictured above) lolled around lazily, and my attention flitted from the two of them back to the books, back to the cats, back to the books…you get the point. Meanwhile, a large, blocky tollbooth represented the Phantom Tollbooth, and gave me such a rush of nostalgia that I was tempted to buy The Phantom Tollbooth right there, even though I have a copy back home.

Large plush chairs ensured that I would have stayed for hours if not for my impatient friends, already tracking me down.

Even though I didn’t stay long, this bookstore reminded me how much I love exploring independent bookstores, as well as B&N. Amazon may be cheap, but it’s nothing compared to actually browsing in a physical bookstore. Be still, my heart! Be still, and take my money! You deserve it.

That said, what’s your favorite bookstore?! Let me know the name, and why you love it! (Wouldn’t it be great to compile them altogether and take a massive road trip to all of them??!!!)

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