Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

10:30:00 AM

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Published: March 22, 2016 by Dial Books
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

Usually I'm not a fan of contemporaries. But then again, Wink Poppy Midnight isn't your average contemporary. I feel like I begin every contemporary I review in a smilar way, but I can’t stress it enough when a contemp surprises me this much. This is a story I devoured in a single sitting one Saturday evening while in a particular reading slump until I could no longer keep my eyes open, and then as soon as I woke up Sunday morning I finished the last 30 pages while I ate breakfast. Either it's a quick read or I just had that insatiable need to continue, either way it's a book I feel everyone should read.
Whereas most contemporaries are about coming of age stories or falling in love or making something extraordinary out of the ordinary, Wink Poppy Midnight was none of these. It was so much more than just a singular element. It had romance, yes. The characters were kids in high school. There was a sort of magic you'll only find in old barnhouses where the floorboards creak to the tune of cicadas in the late summer evenings. The kind of magic instilled in little kids as they run wild and uncaged, and the magic of simplicity.
My kind of contemporary involves lyrical writing, a sort of John Hughes or Wes Anderson vibe and whimsy, and a story that resonates. Wink Poppy Midnight hit on all of these and more. In fact, I would really love seeing this adapted to the screen by the mind of Wes Anderson, it just had that feeling to it, reminiscent to movies like Moonrise Kingdom and The Kings of Summer. I could go on and on about the writing in this book for days. I could gush over the pure poetry the narration oozed, the way the story was made that much more real and tangible in its details. Little quirks characters had like dusting powdered sugar on as perfume or writing in silver on black paper or collecting rare books, it's what made the story more human because I could easily fall in stride with their personalities.
The characters were as varied and striking as they come. No two were alike and none fell flat. Wink easily became my favorite because of her narration and her unique voice. The last book I read that I loved this way was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, for its lilting and haunting language and twist ending. Wink Poppy Midnight had the same vibe to it, where the story was told in the details. It was unconventional in more ways than one and it spoke to a sort of nostalgia we all have for things we never experienced.
I don’t know how to do this book justice without spoiling the whole darn thing, because I could pick it apart and put it back together again and each time I would find something new I love. I feel like in order to truly appreciate the story, reading it in one sitting won’t do it justice. I need to reread it and savor each and every bit of it.
If you’re like me and dislike most contemporaries, give this one a shot and see if you change your mind. Even if you dislike the story, the unique style of writing and the dimensional characters are guaranteed to deliver.

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