Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight, April Genevieve Tucholke (2016)

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

A Different Kind of Fairy Tale

five out of five stars

There was an evil in me too, a cruel streak. I don’t know where it came from and I didn’t really want it, no more than I’d want big feet or mousy brown hair or a piggish nose. But fuck it. If I’d been born with a piggish nose, then I would own it, like I own the cruel and the mean.

THE FIRST TIME I slept with Poppy, I cried. We were both sixteen, and I’d been in love with her since I was a kid, since I was still reading monster comics and spending too much time practicing sleight-of-hand tricks because I wanted to be a magician. People say you can’t feel real love that young, but I did. For Poppy.

I’d put out a trap in the woods.
I’d caught a wolf.
And now it was screaming.
If Poppy was the Wolf, and Midnight was the Hero . . .
Then who was I?

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Poppy Harvey is as beautiful as she is cruel. You could call her a bully or a mean girl – or even THE Mean Girl – but neither does Poppy justice: she’s more like a cross between Regina George and Dexter Morgan, with the snotty, rich girl attitude of the former and the sociopathic tendencies of the latter. She once chopped off Holly Trueblood’s white-blonde hair at the skull – “all because someone said that Holly’s hair was prettier than her own.” Poppy’s the kind of girl who could grind your face in the dirt and then charge you for the privilege of spending time with her. She is the Queen and the Temptress and the Wolf, all rolled into one.

With silky, golden blonde hair, milky white skin, and a knack for social manipulation, Poppy is loved/adored/worshiped by adults and teenagers alike. All but one: Leaf Bell, the oldest and fiercest of the Orphans. Leaf sees beyond Poppy’s surface beauty, all the way down into the ugly, black rottenness of her heart – and he despises her for it. Naturally, Poppy is hopelessly in love with him.

(More below the fold…)