One of my best friends and I have begun a tradition of sharing books. I send her a book, wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine, and when she finishes it, she sends my book back along with one for me to read. The latest novel I received was Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke.
The story follows three teenagers: Wink, a vibrant young girl living on a farm with her orphan siblings andfortune-telling mother; Midnight, a boy whose mother and brother left for Paris, leaving him to discover adolescent life on his own; and Poppy, the vivacious and compelling girl who continues to pull on Midnight’s heart strings. We get the pleasure of following them on a journey of self-discovery, as they question what it means to be a hero, a villain, and a liar.
Now into the fun part! I have a journal entitled “Books I’ve Read: A Readers Journal”, and have decided that it is he perfect place for me to pull my reviews from, so let’s get right into it.
8.5 / 10 This book intrigues you from the beginning with its varying points of view and lifestyles. Each character is crafted for a purpose, and has a part to play in the story being told, and for me that is a necessary element in a good book. Tucholke touches on subjects that can be relatable to any and everyone, offering an opportunity for self reflection that forces you to look beyond who you believe you are and discover your complexities. The position she puts her characters in leads the reader to see the hero, villain, and liar in all of us. If you love complex, and compelling realistic fiction: this is a book for you.
- The character complexity of this novel is intriguing because the focus is on these three individuals, so there is serious background information and realism.
- It is styled to where each chapter is a different POV (point of view), which I love to hate because it means that I never stop reading.
- However, there are some instances where the continuity would be more efficient if the POV’s were rearranged in some places.
- **SLIGHT SPOILER** I understand that Wink’s mother is a fortune-teller and that their family has some superstitious tendencies, but I felt like the whole “spirit-esc” encounter with Poppy was rather strange. Partially because Poppy was not dead, and because of the POV arrangement.
- It was arranged as though Wink all of a sudden was Poppy in spirit form, whereas Midnight later clarifies that “It was Wink, but not. I was Poppy’s mannerisms and behavior”, so essentially it was Wink acting as Poppy.
- This was quite confusing because you’re going through the scene and it isn’t quite making sense, and then it finally changes POV and suddenly there is this revelation that makes you want to go back and re-read for understanding.
- There were not a lot, if any, plot holes. Which I find to be a huge plus because it only adds to a novels fluidity.
- Only one I may have noticed regarded the name of Midnight’s brother. We are told that his name is Alabama, and that we’ll learn the answer, but I don’t remember ever finding out why. However, it is very possible that I simply missed it, so if you’ve read the book and remember why let me know in the comments!
- I also wish there was a final confrontation between Midnight and Poppy. They play such pivotal roles in one another’s lives and I feel that there was not the necessary resolution when they “went their separate ways”.
- We receive closure between Midnight and Wink, and perhaps it is symbolic that there isn’t as clear of an ending for Poppy and Midnight, but I would have liked just a bit more clarity.
Novel Ideas and Themes:
Tucholke teaches us that throughout life there are no heroes or villains, no one person has a single identity, and it is our job to be ever-changing. Our actions have consequences and there is no one at fault except for ourselves. As these characters brew conflict with one another the question is “who can we blame”? But the day comes when the only person to look at is yourself, and you alone must learn how to live your own life.
“When you look into the darkness, the darkness looks into you.”
“All good heroes are scared, if they know the evil they face.”