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Wink Poppy Midnight Hardcover – March 22, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In her follow-up to Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea (Dial, 2013), Tucholke showcases her talent for storytelling once again in a mystery challenging readers' perceptions. Seemingly innocent and story-obsessed Wink believes Midnight plays an important role in her life, seemingly heartless and self-obsessed Poppy might only love herself, and seemingly naive Midnight has feelings for both girls. These teen narrators offer up their version of events. But who's manipulating whom? And what kind of story are they weaving? Fairy tale? Antibullying allegory? Coming-of-age narrative? At times frustrating but always compelling, Tucholke's book has its fair share of liars, yet her prose is far from superficial. As with her previous writing, descriptive settings are easily pictured, sexual encounters are nongratuitous, and unique characterization turns archetypes inside out. Children with long parental leashes find trouble and ultimately realize that real people can play the dual roles of hero and villain, in their own stories and in others. Vague enough at times to be open to interpretation, this title will keep readers on their toes. VERDICT A recommended purchase for public and school libraries, particularly those looking to prompt discussions on unreliable narrators and tricky storytelling.—Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ
Praise for Wink Poppy Midnight
“Mesmerizing, suspenseful. . . . Hard to put down . . . You’ll be dying to get to the end and figure out what’s what. And then you’ll be flipping back through to see how you missed the clues. Wink Poppy Midnight is a quick and delightful read.”—The New York Daily News
* “Tucholke walks a fine, spine-chilling line. . . . An eerie, tangled story with plenty of questions: Who can be trusted? Who—or what—pulls the strings? . . . The book keeps readers wondering. Nicely constructed and planned, with unexpected twists to intrigue and entertain.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Bends, inverts, and breaks fairy-tale patterns . . . Cunning . . . The narrative voices are distinct—Midnight’s deeply emotional and direct, Poppy’s aggressive and fierce, Wink’s mystical and dreamy—and ultimately blur the line between the teens’ reality and invention. The well-realized characters and intricately entwined storylines will fully envelope readers in this bewitching mystery.”—Horn Book
“A dark, unpredictable mystery that . . . shimmer[s] with sumptuous descriptions and complicated psychologies. . . . Occult accoutrements, descriptions of the wild landscape, and a twisting-turning plot create an uncertain atmosphere that constantly shift readers’ perceptions of who is trustworthy.”—Publishers Weekly
“Tucholke showcases her talent for storytelling once again. . . . Unique characterization turns archetypes inside out. . . . This title will keep readers on their toes. . . . Recommended.”—School Library Journal
“Twisty, twirly . . . Deliciously eerie . . . with a pace that is languid yet compelling and three unforgettable characters.” —BCCB
"Wink Poppy Midnight features three strongly delineated first-person narrators. Dark and compelling, it challenges the reader in the best way.”—Kenny Brechner, PW ShelfTalker
“A timeless story of love and hate, of losing yourself in order to find yourself. From the very first riveting sentence to the last punctuation mark, Wink Poppy Midnight keeps readers entranced.”—VOYA teen reviewer
Top customer reviews
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There are three main characters in this story, Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. One’s a hero, a villain, and a liar. Who’s who is up to you to figure out. Wink is your carefree spirit kind of girl. She’s very different and is almost innocent like with her behavior and knowledge of things. She enjoys reading fairy tales and is constantly reading them to her siblings. Poppy is your sort of stuck up popular girl with a definite mean streak. And Midnight is the boy caught between the two. He was in love with Poppy but she shunned him for the most part, even after they were together. She was cruel and mean to him, unless she wanted something from him.
It’s hard to say what goes on in this book because one, spoilers, and two…it’s really hard to say! LOL! Midnight starts hanging out with Wink more and that makes Poppy jealous and soon she’s angling to play a cruel prank on Wink and she wants Midnight’s help.
I struggle to write this review, because I struggle to understand what I read. When dealing with a liar—and we know someone’s lying here—you are never sure who to trust in a story. Can we trust their accounts of what’s going on? Can we trust anyone’s? It’s all a big mystery and puzzle. And in the end, you still aren’t entirely sure what the big picture is.
And yet, I didn’t hate the book. I wasn’t 100% in love with it, because I like answers. I like to have a clear cut idea of what all just happened and while I feel like we get some of that, I just don’t have the big picture down. It’s like a puzzle with key pieces missing. You can almost see what the final result is, but the missing pieces are making it rather difficult.
Still, I did really like this one! There’s mystery and secrets and some creepy things happening too towards the end. And still, that not knowing part actually adds to the mystery because you aren’t entirely sure if it was real or not. It’s almost like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Most particularly Lady in the Water, because it had the strange air of mystery and fantasy to it and how everyone has a part to play. Though I haven’t seen that movie in years, and I found it a tad confusing towards the end, much like I did with this book! But oddly enough, I’m almost okay with not knowing. Maybe it’s all about the interpretation. Our own imaginings just might be the ending of the story.
Wink Poppy Midnight is an intriguing and mysterious read but is not for the faint of heart. It will confound and confuse you at times and there may not be an answer to what you want to know most. So be prepared for that, otherwise, enjoy a truly beautifully told tale and the characters with deeper meanings and motives within!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars
Wink Poppy Midnight is, at its core, a mystery. We know from the synopsis that there is at least one unreliable narrator and that something bad happened. Really, this is all you need to know before you start reading. To know more would only robe you of the enjoyment in discovering each word on each page for yourself. Due to the shortness of this book, the plot is laid out pretty quickly and you can almost immediately see where the tension will lie between certain characters. I love books that put you right in the thick of the story without a lot of buildup but if it’s not done right then you can end up feeling lost in the middle of a story you don’t quite understand. That’s not the case here though, Tucholke expertly inserts you into the lives of these three characters and you’ll feel, within pages, as if you’ve known them forever.
Unreliable narrators have become quite popular in all types of fiction lately and let’s face it, you either love it or you hate it. I personally love this type of storytelling but I typically don’t like to know it’s there ahead of time. It bothers me a bit to read reviews of a book and the reviewer is talking about the unreliable narrators in the story. Even though it’s technically not a spoiler, if the synopsis mentions nothing about it then it probably shouldn’t be put in a review. And yes, I’m totally guilty of doing this myself a time or two 😉 So if I know there’s an unreliable narrator then I’m looking for the signs and clues the moment I start reading. This means I usually spot it long before the author probably wanted me too. If I knew nothing about the books unreliable narrator then I wouldn’t have been looking for it and in the end I would have been blown away once it was revealed. With all that being said, I wondered how this line of thinking would play into reading this book. I thought it was pretty unique that this book announces the fact that there’s an unreliable narrator. It’s basically taunting you to pick it up and see if you can figure it out, that’s pretty bold.
Did that boldness pay off? Yes, for me it did. I think it worked due to the three, very distinct narrators. We’re told that one is a villain, one is a hero, one is a liar and it’s clear right from the start who the villain and hero are. Naturally you’d think the villain is the liar, right? Then does that mean she’s lying when she’s thinking and saying all those villainous things? Is she really not a villain at all? Idk, wouldn’t that be a little too obvious? Why would the author write such an obvious villain only to have her turn out not to be the villain because she’s really the liar? If it’s the first thing most readers would think then wouldn’t it be a pretty boring “twist” if it turned out to be true? So, if it’s not the villain who’s the liar does that mean it’s the hero? If our hero is the liar does that mean he’s not really the hero? Wouldn’t that make him the villain? Maybe it’s the third narrator who’s the liar, the one who tells stories. Are stories and lies the same thing? Could there be something else she’s lying about? If so, doesn’t that make her the villain? Are you totally confused yet? Good, you’ve just experienced what it’s like to read this book. The whole point seems to be in second guessing every word you read because the clues are there; you just have to figure out which narrator’s clues are true and which narrator’s clues are lies. This book will seriously mess with your head and leave it spinning with endless possibilities!
I loved that there was this sort of magical/mystical/fantasy feel to the entire book. It was almost like our characters were stuck inside some twisted, grownup fairytale and I loved it. Tucholke writes this story brilliantly and I found each character to be rather fascinating in their own right. And as different as these characters were, I discovered that I related to certain aspects of their personalities; that’s rare to find in one book. I also loved that the chapters would end and the POV would switch before a scene was over thus giving you an entirely different perspective to what was going on. This might sound confusing but it really worked for this story.
I think the only thing I wasn’t entirely happy with was the length of the ending, after we’ve discovered the “who’s who” of the story. I loved the ending itself but it felt like it could have been fleshed out more, like it needed another 20 pages or so. This would have given us more depth to the scope of the story and its characters. But this is just a minor thing and a personal issue of mine; I do prefer longer novels because of this! Overall, I adored Wink Poppy Midnight and would definitely recommend it for readers who enjoy novels where you’re never really sure what is going on, who you should trust, or who the bad guys really are. If you like those scenarios then you will definitely love this book!
Most recent customer reviews
I just couldn’t get into the character...Read more
Age: 14+ (some strong language, sexual situations)
“Wink kissed deep.Read more