The Paper Wasp, Lauren Acampora

I don’t normally share my 3-star reads on here, but this book was interesting and after looking over some of the advanced reviews, I think it’s worth sharing here. I imagine that some people will really love this book and some will be lukewarm. Anyway, here’s my review, and you can decide for yourself when the book releases in June.

The Paper Wasp is told through Abby as if she is telling her story to Elise, who will never hear of Abby’s version of events. It’s an interesting way to tell a story and we watch it unfold as such. Abby hasn’t seen Elise since high school and their lives have taken completely different turns. Elise works in Hollywood now and Abby is working at an out of the way store and is still working on her art quietly. These characters are rather opposites yet they were best friends in high school, and each of them still thinks of the other often.

When we Abby decides to attend the 10-year reunion, it’s with the hopes that Elise will be there. The two run into each other and have a long talk, with Elise leaving her number and encouraging Abby to stay in touch. So when Abby decides to just fly out to LA and surprise Elise, it is quite the surprise. But Elise brings her home, shows off the art and books she has collected, and invites Abby to stay on as her assistant.

As Elise drinks more and more, it’s Abby she depends on. For her rants on her boyfriend Raf, for other actors, for it all, Abby is there with an encouraging ear. Abby has dreams to be a part of the Rhizome, the brainchild of the director she has followed and adored for years. So when Elise treats Abby to a day there, it is everything she dreamed of and more. As Abby manages to become a member, she keeps this secret from Elise, and her schemes start to get deeper and more out of control.

The characters were well written, I too didn’t like Raf as Abby didn’t, and he made for a good, sleazy boyfriend. Elise was a bit shallow, and I think that’s a very typical Hollywood type. As a reader, I could see that the way Elise was treating Abby was grating on her, but I didn’t quite get the amount of animosity (hatred?), that festered inside of Abby. Her jealousy that her art is just sitting in rolls while Elise is living out her art is apparent. We know that because her parents have always watched her closely after a major incident, and that she suffers from a mental illness of some kind, that which isn’t defined. Clearly, that plays a bigger role here in her grand plan. I wasn’t expecting Abby’s final coup de grace, so it was unexpected yet interesting. Her actions explain the title perfectly.

For now you can read my review on Goodreads. The Paper Wasp is available for preorder on Amazon for $24.21. That is an odd price and I imagine because the release is so far out, that price will come down significantly.