ARC REVIEW: The Paper Wasp – by Lauren Acampora

Title: The Paper Wasp
Author: Lauren Acampora
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: June 11th 2019
Publisher: Grove Press
Finished reading: May 24th 2019
Pages: 240

“No one wants the truth. We don’t want to live with it; we don’t want to bathe in it. We want to supplant it. We want the dream, not the real. We long for fabrication, hallucination, false catastrophe.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Grove Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I admit I have been curious about this story as soon as I first saw the cover of The Paper Wasp, and I’ve been looking forward to pick it up ever since. I know it sounds like a cliche, but the phrase ‘it’s not you, it’s me‘ is actually quite a good representation of my feelings about this story. Even though the blurb itself sounded intriguing enough to have my interest piqued immediately, I’m afraid the actual story ended up being not exactly my cup of tea. Of course these feelings are subjective and The Paper Wasp is by no means a bad read, but I’ll try to explain why it wasn’t a right fit for me. It’s hard to put my finger exactly on the why, but I think a lot of my lack of connection to the story had to do with the writing style. The writing and tone of The Paper Wasp was too aloof and cumbersome to my taste and it almost felt as if it was trying to hard to be overly complicated and ‘literary fiction worthy’. I can appreciate lush writing and wonderful phrasing, but in this case I don’t think this particular writing style matched the premise of the story.

The Paper Wasp basically focuses on toxic relationships and the interaction between Abby and Elise. Other characters are in play, but these two women are in the spotlight and the focus is on their relationship and character development. The thing is, I really didn’t like either of them and for a character-driven story this makes it a lot harder to stay invested. The whole Perren angle is used to give the story a surreal air and it can be said that makes the story more unique, but I personally found it to be mostly confusing instead. Abby is a strange strange character, and while I love my quirky and unique characters, she is particularly hard to like. The superficial Hollywood cliche character in Elise is equally difficult to connect with… And these feelings didn’t change as I got to know them better. The ending definitely came as a surprise, but I’m not sure if it was a good surprise this time around. In fact, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the facts and how the plot was developed… Between the overly cumbersome writing style, unlikeable characters and an unconvincing plot development, sadly The Paper Wasp wasn’t my cup of tea. But I also know that the right person will love spending time with this story.


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WWW Wednesdays #224 – May 29th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool… It’s taking way longer than I thought to get through this MG story, both because I’m not able to connect to the story or characters (do I smell an unpopular opinion review coming up?) and because I haven’t had much time to read as I’ve been baking like crazy for our niece’s 15th birthday. As of today, I’m free to read again though, and I can’t wait to properly dive into The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Especially as so many have recommended this title to me over the years!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/05 
Call Me Star Girl left me absolutely speechless staring at that final page, wondering how long it would be before my heart would be whole again. How do I even begin reviewing this title? It doesn’t happen often that a book is able to provoke reactions this strong, but Stella’s story is one of them. The writing style is absolutely wonderful of course, but it is the characters who steal the show in Call Me Star GirlLouise Beech should receive an award for being able to create such fascinating characters that are both flawed, strong and essentially unlikeable, but are able to win over your heart anyway. This story was so so so cleverly written! More raving in my review tomorrow.

2. The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/06
Even though the blurb itself sounded intriguing enough to have my interest piqued immediately, I’m afraid the actual story ended up being not exactly my cup of tea. It’s hard to put my finger exactly on the why, but I think a lot of my lack of connection to the story had to do with the writing style. The writing and tone of The Paper Wasp was too aloof and cumbersome to my taste and it almost felt as if it was trying to hard to be overly complicated and ‘literary fiction worthy’. And between the writing style, unlikeable characters and an unconvincing plot development, sadly The Paper Wasp wasn’t for me. But I also know that the right person will love spending time with this story.

3. In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/06
book four is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. The writing style sweeps you away, makes you forget about daily chores and feel yourself part of the story. I LOVED both Lundy as a character and the fantasy world that fits her personality. Goblin Market is a wondrous world of fair value, debts and birds; the description of both world and the characters that inhibit it are excellent and truly make it come alive. In An Absent Dream is one of my favorites of the series and I’m already looking forward to the next installment which is scheduled to be published early 2020.

4. The Disappeared by Amy Lord (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 10/06
Look out for my thoughts on The Disappeared during my blog tour stop next month June 10th!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to try and keep reading mostly my own books, and my final May TBR title is up next: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. I can’t wait to finally try his work! I do have a few ARCs still left to read, and next up is The Woman In Our House by Andrew Hart. Also up soon is We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. by Samantha Irby, which I will approach with care as I’ve been hearing mixed things about it. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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WWW Wednesdays #223 – May 22nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about it and I’m so excited to be finally getting to know her work… I have my tissues ready just in case. 😉 I’m also starting another blog tour read which is due early next month: The Disappeared by Amy Lord. I’m really curious about this title as the blurb sounds intriguing.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes is by no means a bad read (quite the contrary in fact) and the three star rating reflects my personal experience with the story rather than the quality itself. Every book has its target group and while the story sadly wasn’t a right fit for me, I could also really appreciate it for what it was. The power behind this read is Ruth Hogan‘s ability to create quirky, flawed and unique characters that will most likely stay with you for quite some time. A lot of time is invested in the description and development of the different characters. While I could really appreciate that and I do love my quirky and unique characters, for me personally it slowed down the pace too much and I struggled to connect and stay invested in the story.

2. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/05
I literally cancelled all plans, settled down in my favorite reading chair and flew through Dead Inside in one sitting. It was simply brilliant! Dead Inside shines a light on domestic abuse from the point of view of both victims and (in a less direct way) abusers. At the same time, we also have an active murder investigation going on with ‘victims’ who don’t exactly arise sympathy. This story is lightning fast and isn’t afraid to go dark and messy. There are various twists and turns involved in Dead Inside, and while I did see part of it coming, I definitely didn’t guess the final reveal. And what a way to end the story! Crime thriller fans, you have found a new title for your wishlist! Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this outstanding crime thriller debut.

3. The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/05
I know I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger‘s writing in the past and The Sleep Tight Motel fitted a couple of challenge prompts… Making it easy to make an exception and give it a go. Between the cover and blurb I knew I was in for a creepy read, and I can say this short story would have been a perfect fit for the Halloween month. What starts out as a simple crime thriller with the main character on the run and hiding from someone, turns out to be so much more by the time you reach the final page…

4. Breakers by Doug Johnstone (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/05
Look out for my thoughts on Breakers during my blog tour stop tomorrow!

5. Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/05
I think there is a lot to love in Your Life Is Mine, but in the end the story failed to convince me completely. A big part of this feeling had to do with the very slow pace during most of the story. The slow pace came as a surprise especially considering just how twisted things get at points… Especially in the second half you will find a lot of action as things are spinning out of control, but somehow the overall plot still feels slow? It sounds contradicting, but sadly it was how I felt about the story as a whole. Your Life Is Mine is by no means a bad read and it has some very interesting and twisted elements, but sadly it failed to stand out above other recent thrillers I’ve read.

6. The Last Of August by Brittany Cavallaro (2/5 stars) REVIEW 27/05
I wasn’t expecting to be having this reaction, especially as I really enjoyed the first book of the series, but The Last Of August turned out to be a mayor disappointment. About 90% of the story is filled with a frustrating love triangle,  a whole lot of ‘does he/she love me?’ and ‘I don’t know what to do with my feelings’ and basically an overdose of teen angst in general. The whole Sherlock Holmes investigation was mostly pushed into the background and the only thing that stopped me from DNFing was the promise of Berlin and Prague descriptions (and even those were not as present as I hoped). I’m definitely giving up on this series for now.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to try and squeeze in more of my own books before continuing with my ARCs… Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield are up next. Then it’s ARCs again and I’m probably going to pick up The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora if I’m in the mood for it. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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