Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke wasn’t what I was expecting, which I guess is why you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. I did. The gorgeous black cover looked gloriously spooky and immediately caught my eye when I visited The Book Lounge to spend some birthday vouchers. I loved the assortment of owls, moons, apples, spiderwebs and stars set against the black background. I added it to my Halloween reads pile.
Don’t get me wrong – I loved the book to bits. It’s not a horror though, or supernatural – well not really. It’s certainly spooky in parts – there’s a haunted house, a midnight seance, creepy twins in stripy stockings and kids gallivanting in cemeteries, but it’s something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It’s a beautifully-written lyrical book full of twists and turns, raw truths and wild imaginings that walks a tightrope between contemporary fiction and pure, lyrical fantasy.
Three teens – the beautiful and cruel Poppy, the gallant boy-next-door Midnight and the whimsical wild child Wink – become embroiled in a twisted bramble of manipulation and lies where no one is really what they pretend to be. I found myself furiously turning the pages to keep up with the momentum and finished the book in an afternoon.
The plot is hardly simple. In truth I wasn’t entirely sure what to take away from it other than its undeniable beauty. I thought about it all day after putting it down. I suppose in its barest form the book is about storytelling, discovering the truth about ourselves and just how wild and crazy being a teenager can be. I did my fair share of running around forests at night when I was young, just enjoying the thrill of being alive.
Maybe the lesson is that books don’t necessarily need clever, complicated or paint-by-numbers plots. Maybe a book can just be wild and beautiful.
This one certainly is.