Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 2.25

Okay, so when I first saw this book under “Recommended”, I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful cover.

Then I read the synopsis. And wow – it seemed like a captivating story. And it was, but it wasn’t what I expected and I don’t think I mean that in a good way.

Wink Poppy Midnight follows three characters in a triple perspective style. Wink is the mysterious and odd girl next door who lives with her large family. Her fantastic imagination gives her a knack for storytelling, and she kind of has that Luna Lovegood dreamy quality. Poppy is the coldhearted bully who always gets what (or who) she wants. She is manipulative, selfish, and cruel, but everyone loves her anyways. Midnight is a kind, sweet, boy, who is hopelessly in love with this girl – even though he knows she only uses him.

When Midnight meets Wink, he gets dragged into her fantasy world – and he loves it. But when everything starts to go awry, the truth is no longer black and white, and Midnight is trapped right in the middle.

The strongest aspect of this book was definitely the writing style. It was mysterious, magical, and poetic. It reminded me of E. Lockhart‘s We Were Liars or Nova Ren Suma‘s The Walls Around Us.

However, this book falls short in the character and plot department.

Looking at the characters after finishing the book, I realized that they actually were developed – in the sense that there was depth. And yet, and this may even be because of the writing style, I felt like I was unable to really connect to the characters.

At the end of the story, it still felt as though there was an unexplainable distance between me and them. In a sense, it felt like the characters were just that and nothing more; they were pawns in the chess game and were used to fill in the holes to portray the moral of the story. They felt more like plot devices than actual people.

This was more evident in the side characters, who were grouped together and named collectively; they barely appeared unless it was to deliver a clue or to help the story move further along.

As for the main characters, however, although they did somewhat feel like plot devices as well, I think their weaknesses were the lack of development (mostly in Wink and Midnight).

Wink, for me, became less and less likeable as the book went on. I feel like the ending would be slightly predictable, just looking at her character.

Midnight was probably my favorite out of the three, although I did think there were moments where his cowardliness and spinelessness (especially for Poppy) got annoying.

On the other hand, I despised Poppy. Although she was probably the only one who developed, she had been so despicable at the start that I didn’t really think her change was “realistic”.

One of the things I really had trouble with was her “relationship” with Midnight. YA and adult romance novels have always had this cliche: “I know what I’m doing is wrong, but I just can’t help it – because I love him.” But there are instances where that’s cute and lustful, and there are other instances where it borders on sexual assault.

And this is important: No means no. It does not mean “Let’s do it again sometime.” and it most definitely is not code word for “I love you.” It means stop.

But Poppy didn’t get that, obviously. She was just too used to getting her way.

Everyone loved me and I loved myself and I got my way and did what I wanted and still left people feeling like they were lucky to know me.

And that, is why I couldn’t stand her.

The plot was definitely different from what I had gathered from the synopsis. I feel the writing style had to do with making the story more magical than a typical love triangle story.

The synopsis says, “What really happened?”, and I find myself asking that question even after finishing the book. The ending is left more open-ended, which does let the reader wonder.

Overall, I would actually say that this was a quick and engaging read, but while the writing style was unique and beautiful, it wasn’t quite enough to make up for the other things that the book was lacking.

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