Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wink Poppy Midnight

Poppy is blonde, hot, and very aware of it. She can get whatever she wants and she doesn't care who she has to step on to get it. Midnight is the boy in the love with her. He's everything she isn't: sincere, sweet, and genuine. His goal is to distance himself from her and move on, but she won't let him. Wink is an odd girl from an odd family with lots of children. Her wild red hair, outdated clothes, and lack of normal social graces make her an outsider at school, but no one teases her because she just doesn't care. All three of their lives entwine after Midnight moves right next door to Wink. Poppy gets jealous and tries to torment them, so Wink and Midnight play a prank to punish her that goes terribly wrong. Poppy is missing and no one claims to know where she is. Someone is lying, but who?

Wink Poppy Midnight is hard to classify. It's a mystery and a romance, but it's not clear if it's fantasy or just a contemporary novel until the end. I liked the uncertainty and the unfolding of the mystery little by little. The story is told through the alternating first person narration of the three main characters: Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. They are all vibrant characters that are hiding something from everyone like I suppose we all are. Each of them reveals their inner thoughts and hopes while the others share what they project and how others think of them. The difference between how they are and how they are viewed is one of my favorite parts of the story. On the outset of the novel, Poppy is pretty much insufferable. She's cruel because it's fun and she can get away with it. Her collection of followers do anything she says and affirm her bad behavior. Her favorite plaything is Midnight and she never passes up an opportunity to torment him because he loves her. She shows that she has a heart and realizes how cruel she is being, but does it anyway. By the end, I felt for her very much when she peeled away all her armor.

Midnight seems like a sweet boy who just needs to get over Poppy. He is tired of her cruelty and arrogance, so Wink is a breath of fresh air in comparison. He resolves to get to know her and separate himself from the temptation of Poppy. Poppy views him as weak and pathetic, but he's a nice boy that wants a real relationship.Wink is obsessed with fairy tales and fantasy stories with heroes, trials, and villains. She's the most interesting character in the story. Her whole life has a bit of fairy tale in it. She and her siblings (who she calls the orphans) run kind of wild. They wear outdated clothes, talk about weird things, and aren't afraid to be themselves. They don't care what anyone else think. Poppy avoided her for years after it because clear she was unable to be embarrassed or shamed. Now, she's right in Poppy's crosshairs because of Midnight. Wink believes in fairies and heroes and villains, but she has a dark side too. Through the story, it becomes clear that people don't fit into the flat stock character roles of fairy tales no matter how much she tries to make them fit.

Wink Poppy Midnight flows well through the multiple narratives. Each chapter is rather short, so it seemed to take no time to read. The ending loses momentum a bit, but it's reflective of real life. Real life doesn't always have an explosive ending. Sometimes life just goes on. I was a bit disappointed with Tucholke's Between Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, but she continues to impress with her short story in Slasher Girls and Monster Boys and this book. I will eagerly read whatever she writes next.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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