OMG Wink Poppy Midnight was SO MUCH MORE than I expected. April Genevieve Tucholke earned her place on my auto-buy list with her first novel (I have SUCH a soft spot for anything remotely gothic and creepy), and this was just as beautiful. I loved the unusual names, I loved the characters, I loved the ambiguity of the story, I LOVED EVERYTHING HERE.
(Especially the COVER WILL YOU LOOK AT IT IT IS FLAWLESS)
I’m gonna start with the names. There were a couple of normal ones, like Zoe and Thomas, but mostly they were strange names: Wink, Midnight, Leaf, Buttercup, Peach, Bee Lee. They’re all just so unconventional and they really lend themselves to the strangeness of the characters. I especially love Wink’s name, because she’s cast as the mysterious one in the Wink-Poppy-Midnight triangle, and her name kind of reminds you to take everything with a grain of salt; like she was winking after every sentence so you don’t know if she’s serious about anything or not.
Okay, now with the characters.
Y’all, I might have liked Poppy best. Here’s the problem though: she’s a BITCH. Like, big time. She’s a bully, and she uses everyone and just is an all around bad person. But guys, clearly something is messed up in her past. They never really say what happened, other than she lost her grandpa, but there’s definitely something off with her that seems…tragic. Her parents are super successful doctors, and it sounds like they’re gone a lot; and if you know doctors, you know that their hours can be a bit insane. So they’re not around, and Poppy didn’t ever really connect with them.
She’s still forced into their lifestyle though, with the money and the status and just the general pampered-ness that comes with their wealth. And she finally, finally starts to connect with someone, someone she doesn’t get to see all that often but is actually realizing she could love and emulate in life, and then he dies. So she’s just kind of stuck in this superficial world, where her parents aren’t there to show her what love is like, and where it’s too late to really form any of those positive bonds that children form with their parents. So she’s awful and mean because that’s all she knows.
Okay, okay, I feel like I MIGHT have over-thought Poppy, but I just love her okay I’m sorry.
Midnight was mostly the main character, but I didn’t connect with him as much as I think I should have. He just fell a liiiittle flat to me. I mean, I know he’s a bit confused because his mom just up and went to Paris with his older half-brother, but he just doesn’t seem to have…feelings? I don’t know. He’s in love with Poppy and always has been, in spite of her general awfulness to him, but there’s never really a reason for it. Like, we don’t know what made him fall in love with her other than her perfect, blonde, Victoria’s Secret Model-ness.
But, in spite of being in love with Poppy for forever, when he moves next door to the Bell farm (aka Wink’s house) he just decides that he’s done and they’re over (because, oh yeah, he’s been sleeping with Poppy but in a very hush-hush kind of way because they’re not in a relationship). And just like that he kind of stops having feelings for her. I mean, he’s been kind of falling out of love with the idea of Poppy (because I think that’s all he was really in love with anyway) for a while, but it only seems like that. I know he’s been getting sick of her shenanigans, but it’s like he moves and flips a switch and BAM. He’s done.
Uhm…no? That’s not how this works, Midnight dear. I do not buy it.
And Wink. WINK. So she reminds me of Auri from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. SO MUCH. She’s this waif-ish little dream machine and is straight out of a fairy tale. Which she’s obsessed with, by the way. But Wink is trying to create her own fairy tale out of real life, and it doesn’t go quite the way you would think. It doesn’t to poorly for her, but it just doesn’t go how I think she wants it to.
The writing is BEAUTIFUL, of course, because it’s April Genevieve Tucholke and that’s a given. I don’t think she could write ANYTHING badly. It’s just whimsical and floaty and fairy-touched and wonderful. Creepy at times, but always in the most subtle way that it sneaks up on you. It’s like the best kind of fairy tale, ambiguous and hinting and lilting.
All in All
Just read this book, guys. Just do it. It’s short, it will suck you in, and before you know it, it’ll be over and you’ll be sitting there trying to figure out what just hit you and where all the fairy dust came from and who set that empty tub of ice cream beside you. This is the PERFECT summer afternoon read. Sitting in the sun, some kind of a cold drink in hand, and probably near water of some kind. At least that’s what I’d recommend.
Have you read this? What did you think? Did I COMPLETELY overthink Poppy? In a good way or a bad way? PLEASE FANGIRL WITH ME ABOUT THIS BOOK I’M DYING.