Wink Poppy Midnight

Book review by
Bess Maher, Common Sense Media
Wink Poppy Midnight Book Poster Image
Lyrical, haunting novel casts a spell on readers.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teens may pick up some good vocabulary words or literary techniques from reading this well-written novel.

Positive Messages

Be honest with yourself and others. Be kind to others. Be true to yourself. Be the hero of your own story.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Poppy is certainly not a good role model (at least at first). Wink is comfortable in her skin despite the fact that other characters tease her. Midnight is a loyal friend, first to Poppy and then to Wink.


There are several descriptions of bullying by Poppy interspersed throughout. Poppy describes how Wink's brother beats a girl, giving her brain damage. The rest of the violent material revolves around ghost stories and urban legends, such as how a jealous wife killed her husband and then was hanged for it.


Two teens kiss and cuddle. There are a few references to characters who aren't in a relationship having sexual relations.


Occasional use of "f--k," "s--t," "hell," and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) is a creepily entertaining supernatural mystery set in an unnamed ski town, mostly in the forest or farms outside of town. Very sensitive teens or those who scare easily may want to pass on this novel, but its scariness comes mostly from repeated references to ghost stories and dark fairy tales and the accumulation of eerie details -- including creepy twins, tarot cards, and dead chickens -- rather than graphic violence. There are descriptions of a teen bullying others and a mention of a boy beating a girl, giving her brain damage. There are some references to teens having sex, but it's not described, and there's occasional strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "hell," and "damn").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCorissa14e August 24, 2018

Great writing style with very little substance

There are no positive role models in this story. While sex is not descriptive in this book everyone is having sex and all characters are in high school. One o... Continue reading
Adult Written bychibi-sense July 12, 2017

Not All Kids Are Comfortable with Sex

The story might be great but my 13 year old couldn't get past the first two pages. "The first time I slept with Poppy, I cried. [...] Poppy shoved me... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylillylovesmedia May 12, 2016

This book is amazing

This book is probobly inappropriate for littler kids but, for teens it an amazing mystery romance book it captures the reader, and makes them think quite freque... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byab1321 January 12, 2021

Plot? What plot?

If you read lots of fanfiction, you likely know what the title means. The story doesn’t include a lot of sexual stuff, and it isn’t graphic, but it is blatantly... Continue reading

What's the story?

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT is told from three point of views, those of Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Midnight, a brown-haired, blue-eyed boy, lives next door to Poppy and, like almost everyone else, has fallen under her spell. Poppy is a blond ice queen secretly in love with someone who despises her, and Wink is a diminutive misfit who is obsessed with fairy tales. When Midnight moves to the outskirts of town, Wink becomes his new neighbor and love interest. While Poppy devises a plan to keep Midnight under her thumb, Wink attempts to recreate Midnight as the hero of a fairy tale with Poppy as the villain, and it all culminates in an abandoned house in the middle of the woods that's said to be haunted.

Is it any good?

A fun romp for readers who like a good scare, this eerie novel is also a beautifully told story, and, like most fairy tales, it’s a bit unbelievable in places. The points of view are so well formed, we almost don't need the characters' names at the beginnings of chapters to know who's narrating. The novel also plays with ideas of gender. The ambiance vacillates nicely between soothingly calm and spooky, so that the calm sections almost lull readers (and characters) into a false sense of security. The spookiness is created skillfully, in part by odd details such as Wink's shorthand (such as calling her younger brothers and sisters "the Orphans") and best friends who dress alike in black skirts and striped socks, finish each other's sentences, and talk in unison.

Near-constant allusions to fairy tales adds nicely to the spookiness -- “I read the Orphans a fairy tale once called Giant, Heart, Egg”; "He was like the great horned owl with bloody talons in The Witch Girl and the Wolf Boy" -- as does the setting: "The light was now an eerie twilight blue, and the forest had gone dark"; "I ran my hand down the wall, and felt the velvet flowered wallpaper pucker under my palm. The faded red curtains were pushed back, floor to ceiling, framing the jagged edges of the broken bay window."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fairy tales. Why are so many of them dark? What roles do fairy tales have in our society?

  • What makes a hero? Is Midnight a hero? Is Poppy a villain?

  • Why do Buttercup and Zoe go along with Poppy's pranks if they don’t feel right about it?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love ghost stories and mysteries

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate