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 

 

Book Review: The Murder Complex

The Murder Complex

By: Lindsay Cummings 

Quick Stats:

Goodreads Score: 3.79 stars out of 5.

My Score (Official): 3.8 stars out of 5.

My Score (Unofficial): 66 stars out of 72.

The Highlights: “She’s trained to survive. He’s programmed to kill.”

The Lowlights: A few predictable plot twists.

Points of Interest: Told from two points of views: one boy, one girl. Also, lots of violence. Decipher that as you will.

Need to Read Urgency Level: If you’re in a two mile radius of Barnes and Noble, go now. If not, you can afford to wait until you’re in the area.

The Murder Complex

Guys, I have a condition. Or, rather, an obsession. Maybe both. It’s this thing where once I start a TV series, I get super-obsessed for the next five to seven days, so that by the end of that period, I’ve either finished the season, or I’m just so sick of it that I stopped watching. That’s why I usually don’t start series. I’ve been watching the same ones for the past year, and I’m perfectly content inching along with those.

But recently, I made the grand discovery that is America’s Next Top Model. And I’m having a hard time concentrating until I make it to the end of the cycle. That’s why it’s pretty impressive that I finished the Murder Complex in the middle of this TV craze.

I actually got to attend a book signing by the author, Lindsay Cummings. This is her debut book, and the signing was her first stop, so it was very cool to able to attend. There was a large crowd of eager fans, myself included, who had seen the premise of the book and couldn’t wait to read it. There were  stamps (the people in the book all have bar codes to identify themselves). And there was cupcakes. Go cupcakes! While Lindsay seemed a bit nervous at first, she soon gained her footing, and by the end of the interview session, I found her a very down-to-earth woman just a tad bit obsessed with killing people.

The book was also a tad bit obsessed with killing people. It’s another dystopian novel, interesting (to me, in any case) mainly because of the two characters at the core of the dysfunctional world.

Meadow has been trained her whole life to survive. Her father will stop at nothing to teach his children how to fight and defend themselves, so that they won’t end up like their mother.

An orphan, Zephyr has been trained his whole life to kill. Although he doesn’t know it, he’s an assassin for the Murder Complex, the organization that rules the lives of those left over from the Plague.

When Meadow and Zephyr meet in a chance occasion, they set forth a chain of events that will shake the rocky foundations of both their worlds. Together, they will either help each other discover the dangerous secrets their lurk in their pasts, or, they will destroy one another. Either way, nothing will ever be the same. For Meadow, for Zephyr, and for the whole of the Murder Complex.

My Feelings:

I am not an unduly violent person. Torture scenes make me skip paragraphs, and blood makes me close my eyes. That said, I somehow still enjoyed the Murder Complex. Because even though there was violence–and there was violence. A lot of it. A lot a lot. Like, if you were playing a drinking game based on every time someone died, you would get alcohol poisoning halfway through–there was also plot. I continually wanted to know what happened next, a curiosity that I cherish when reading.

I loved the whole concept of survivor vs. killer, and that alone carried a lot of my interest. Besides that, though, some of the other plot points reminded me vaguely of every other dystopian out there. Not a crippling thing, when does with a spin, and done well, though, so I was able to forgive the things I foresaw. As for the characters themselves: I liked the side characters more than the mains. Zephyr was bland, and Meadow was almost a carbon copy of our good friend Katniss Everdeen for the first half (tough, badass girl with one parent missing and a rocky relationship with the remaining parent who will do anything to protect her little sister. Which one do you think I’m talking about, here?). Sketch, Orion, and Koi were all more interesting characters who I wished I could have spent more time with.

But despite the above flaws, I thought the writing was done well, which was enough to redeem Ms. Katniss in the Meadows. The author’s voice was as edgy and straight forward as her subject matter, and I was both able and compelled to get through the 400 page book in just over a day.

So, all in all, if you like dystopian novels, then you will probably like this book. If you like violence and bloodshed, you will probably like this book. And if you like books with no love triangles (as of yet) then you will also like this book. So, if you’re in one of the three above categories, what are you waiting for? Read this book, and then get your butt back here and tell me what you thought of it.

Sorry if that sounded too demanding. This book has me in a hard-core kind of mood. 😉

The Book Summed Up in 1 Quote:  

“Are you afraid?” she asks me. I have to look deep inside of myself for the truth. And I realize that for the first time, I’m not. If I die, I die. At least I’ll know I died fighting for something right, and the girl I love will be beside me. “No,” I whisper. “I’m ready.”

“Good,” Meadow says, as she closes her eyes to sleep. “Because tomorrow we kill them all.”

Last Book Reviewed: Hyperbole and a Half

Next Book to be Reviewed: Will be a fantasy.