Balancing between possibly paranormal and just plain disturbing, Tucholke walks a fine, spine-chilling line.
Dark-haired, awkward (but soon to be gorgeous) Midnight is in love with Poppy, the beautiful, blonde, high school queen with a cruel streak a mile wide. Poppy is in love with Leaf Bell, an older boy who can see “right through the pretty” to the “ugly on the inside.” A self-described bully, Poppy is “built for winning and getting what I wanted and not for trying to be better.” Determined that, if her life is to be one of “desperation, then it would be loud, not quiet,” she is frustrated by Leaf’s indifference. Dreamy Wink is Leaf’s younger sister and a neighborhood oddball—the girl with the tarot card– and tea leaf–reading mother, a freckled dreamer who maybe reads a little too much. But Wink knows every story needs a Hero and a Villain and revolves around three essentials: revenge, justice, and love. Populating her gothic narrative with a mostly white cast, Tucholke writes in three alternating voices, presenting an eerie, tangled story with plenty of questions: Who can be trusted? Who—or what—pulls the strings? High on teen drama and with plenty of trauma—mostly emotional, with a little physical thrown in—the book keeps readers wondering. Nicely constructed and planned, with unexpected twists to intrigue and entertain.
Bottom line? Beware of girls who read books…. (Suspense. 12 & up)