Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened?
Someone is lying.
I've come to accept that I will never fully understand April Genevieve Tucholke's writing. I read her debut novel Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea in 2014 and I was confused out of my mind. Tucholke has a beautiful writing style that weaves this mysterious and haunting aura around the story. As much as I loved her writing, I could not understand what was going on in the story. I don't think I've had a lot of exposure with unreliable narrators and this one has three which threw me for a loop.
Where do I even begin with this novel? There are three characters whose names are Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. If you couldn't tell from their strange names, these are pretty strange characters. Poppy is a bully and she revels in her ability to dominate the people around her. Wink is the eldest daughter of the Bell family who is known for being strange and not right in the head. And finally we have Midnight who is the only slightly sane person in the story but lacks a serious backbone as he becomes caught up in this strange game.
The story rotates between three different narrators, each telling you a small portion of the whole story and you're stuck trying to figure out who is telling the truth. A hero, a villain, and a secret - those words seriously messed me up. Wink tells you from the start that Poppy is the villain and Midnight is the hero, but you don't know what her role is in this "fairytale" that she is explaining. She was the character that set up the story and gave it its haunting and mythical feel.
When I decided to pick this up, I was really excited to give Tucholke's writing a second try and I decided to not get started right away. For some strange reason, I decided to start reading this book at 11pm on a Sunday morning and since it's so short, I finished it in one sitting. First of all, this book has an eerie feeling that surrounds it and reading alone downstairs on the couch was not a good idea. Secondly, I was already exhausted from everything so my mind was functioning even less which made the story seem so bizarre and incomprehensible.
So that brings me to my initial conclusion, I will never fully understand this book. I did enjoy this more than her previous book and I appreciate its unique style as a story, but my brain is still scrambling to figure out what happened.
3 out of 5 stars