WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT
Tucholke, April Genevieve. Wink Poppy Midnight. New York: Dial Books, 2016.
Wink Poppy Midnight captures the entanglement of three teenagers, whose love triangle is less about love and much more about self-ownership. The novel’s cover poses: “A hero. A villain. A liar. Who’s Who?” Before even pulling back the cover, the reader can infer that people may not be who they seem - that there will be a riddle to the tale - that, perhaps, our classifications of people are not so simple. In this case, the riddle teases out the complexities of human nature because the novel really is a study in character. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. The novel opens with Midnight, who is eager to be free of Poppy’s manipulation and finds solace in his new, unconventional, witchy neighbor Wink. From there, a path, which entails revenge, chicanery, and moxie, is spread before them.
Readers who are not quite ready for Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl but who desire some of the conniving, ugliness of character present in that novel should pick up Wink Poppy Midnight. Readers may despise Poppy for her malevolence, but there are some twists that may surprise young adults, in particular, and bring them to question their understanding of humanity. That said, I would recommend this title to thoughtful readers, who care more about seeing characters unfold than action; the formatting, however, allows for easy reading. The chapters are short and alternate between the different characters’ points of view, which allow readers to move steadily through the text without being bogged down.
In addition, I have read Tucholke’s Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and its sequel Between the Spark and the Burn. I loved both of those novels. I was hooked by the Gothic elements, such as the supernatural and atmospheric setting. Wink Poppy Midnight has a similar ambiance. Its imagery is vivid and evocative, and the allusions to fairy tales are enchanting; however I did find Wink Poppy Midnight to be more intellectually stimulating, as opposed to diverting. For those readers who are looking for something more than a simple, amusing story, this is a beautiful read that will provoke thought.
I also have to mention the novel’s lovely cover. The typography is perfectly paradoxical in its combination of whimsy and rigidity, and the deeply saturated jewel tones and natural elements decorating the black cover mirror the beautiful and yet dark fairy-tale-esque elements that permeate the novel. The cover is aesthetically appealing and flawlessly complements the literature within.
Lastly, I have written two blog posts analyzing the characterization of Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. If you’ve read the novel or don’t mind spoilers, you should give them a read.
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