I received this book for free from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
on March 22, 2015
Source: First to Read
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Strange and magical coming-of-age story constructed like a fairy tale. I don’t think these characters will stick with me, but I loved the atmosphere and I am so excited to read anything this author publishes.
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.
What really happened?
Someone is lying.
“All the strangest stories are true.” Wink Poppy Midnight moves at a brisk pace and it can easily be read in one sitting. I selected this book because of the stunning cover that sets the mood perfectly and the comparison to [book:We Were Liars|16143347]. The two books are more similar in atmosphere than they are in storyline. There is an unsettling darkness lurking beneath the story. It has a timeless quality. It feels like a fairy tale and it makes constant reference to them throughout the story. Almost every character has a unique name (Wink, Poppy, Midnight, Bee, Hops, Leaf, etc.), which adds to the magic. It seems like there is something supernatural going on the entire time, but part of the fun was that I never could be certain of it!
We were like the three Fates, weaving the story together, threads of gold, red, and midnight blue. There would be wolves and tricks and lies and cunning and vengeance in our story. I would make sure of it.
The setting is dreamlike and magical. There are farmhouses, woods, a dangerous river, potentially haunted houses, and an albino stag. The perspective alternates rapidly between Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Perspective changes are clearly marked by name. Wink is an eccentric, mysterious girl who loves fairy tales and wants her life to be like one. Her dad wandered off, her mom is a fortune teller and she has six siblings. Poppy is a cruel, manipulative queen bee, who lives to be the center of attention. “I never cried, not even as a baby. My parents said it was because I was such a sweet little angel, but my parents are fools. I never cried because there are only two reasons people cry, one is empathy and the other is self-pity, and I never had any of either.” She is really mean, but I love how unapologetic she is. (She reminded me a little of Amma in Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects.)
Midnight is a boy with a big heart who is caught in between the two girls. After his mother, a writer, runs off to France with his brother, Midnight and his father move into a creaky old house across from Wink’s farmhouse. He hopes the distance from Poppy will loosen her grip on him. Poppy has no intention of letting him go and she is enraged when Midnight’s attention shifts to Wink. Wink is determined to make Midnight play the part of the Hero in a fairy tale of her own making. Poppy is the obvious Villain and it is the Hero’s job to defeat the Villain. But the tagline says “Someone is lying,” so nothing is as it seems.
“There’s a monster in the shape of a beautiful woman. She kills people. Children, old people, everyone. She tries to kill the girl that Thief loves. He fights the monster, and he kills her, because he’s the hero. There is a great victory. And a descent into darkness. There are clues and riddles to solve, and trials of strength and wit. There’s redemption, and consequences, and ever after.”
Wink, Poppy, and Midnight are all trying to find their place in the world. This story demonstrates that people can’t be reduced to an archetype and that life is enough as it is. There is so much beauty in the smallness of life. Wink Poppy Midnighta great read for a chilly evening when you are looking for a little magic and whimsy in your life. (The quotes below are theme related. I don’t consider them spoilers, but I tagged them because they appear near the end. Tread carefully!)View Spoiler »
“Wink wasn’t a villain. She wasn’t a hero. People aren’t just one thing. They never, ever are. Wink was flesh and blood. She was bad. And she was good. She was real.”
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“I used to think that I needed to be part of a story, a big story, one with trials and villains and temptations and rewards. That’s how I would conquer it, conquer death.” She sighed again, and nestled closer into me. “All that matters, in the end, is the little things. The way Mim says my name to wake me up in the morning. The way Bee’s hand feels in mine. The way the sun cast my shadow across the yard yesterday. The way your cheeks flush when we kiss. The smell of hay and the taste of strawberries and the feel of fresh black dirt between my toes. This is what matters, Midnight.”
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This book debuts on March 22, 2016.