Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Paper Wasp” as Want to Read:
The Paper Wasp
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Paper Wasp

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  40 reviews
An electrifying debut novel from the acclaimed author of The Wonder Garden, The Paper Wasp is a riveting knife-edge story of two women's dark friendship of twisted ambition set against the backdrop of contemporary Hollywood In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, she now languishes in her child ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: June 11th 2019 by Grove Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Paper Wasp, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Paper Wasp

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Elyse Walters
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am still a huge fan of “The Wonder Garden”,
written by Lauren Acampora. After reading an early advance copy...
I later bought the hardcopy.
It’s still one of my most favorite unusual- riveting collection of short - linked - stories I’ve ever read. It’s so brilliantly crafted - so mind blowing fascinating and brilliant - taking place in upper-class suburbia -
that I was beyond excited to read this next book.

This book starts out grabbing my attention - dark-creepy-mysterious- ( different than “T
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book immediately captivated me with it's subliminal darkness and the arresting characterization of a woman, Abby, as she teeters on the edge of mental instability. I easily breezed through this story in one day as I felt like I was rubbernecking a slow motion fatal car wreck in progress, unable to turn away.

The entire story is told through Abby's perception of her world and the people in it leaving the reader to constantly question the reliability of the narration.

I am a huge fan of immersi
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
After completing this book, I wasn’t sure exactly what I had just read. I fluctuated from thinking the main character, Abby, was mentally ill to wondering if I was just missing the entire point of the novel. I think it might be a little of both.

Abby is a dispirited young woman living with her equally despondent parents in Michigan. Her older sister has become enmeshed in drugs and sex and any closeness Abby may have had with her has long disappeared. Abby spends her days creating fantastical and
Thank you to Grove Publishing group and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this novel.
I am not sure where to begin with review so I will start with the unsettled way I feel after finishing this narrative. Usually, the reader finds a link with the protagonist that allows you to like them and root for them...not this time. I never liked Abby at any point in the story, I did root for her to find some sense of self and place but I never truly liked her. She is quite honestly dark and trou
Debi Hawkes
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
"Paper Wasp: These stinging insects are semi-social creatures, as they typically live in small colonies but do not have a worker caste....their territoriality can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals," Wikipedia

The novel is aptly named.

Two childhood bestfriends, one a Hollywood starlet the other a brilliant but mental college burnout reunite at their high school reunion. Neither charact
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review
The plot is extremely intriguing, modern and captivating, whilst the characters are fleshed-out and relatable, with realistic motivating forces and emotional struggles. Acampora's prose is flowing; its rhythm and clarity makes for a gripping novel, one that stays with the reader long after he/she turns the final page. Will definitely be checking out more fiction from this writer.

This copy was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review by the publisher via NetGalley.
An intriguing literary thriller—Single White Female meets Inception, if that makes sense? Strange and engrossing with a surprising ending, though I would potentially have preferred a more ambiguous one.
Ankit Garg
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora is an out-of-the-league novel. When I finished reading it, I wasn't sure what hit me - I am still not sure if it is a good thing or a bad one!

I love dark endings, and although this one fits the bill, I cannot really say that I enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong here, the writing style is interesting; the story, not as much though. The main character is fishy, and the reader is left in two minds whether to like her or not. Or may be it is just me, and I couldn't real
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
review soon
Geonn Cannon
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick, well-written read, with an intriguing if hard-to-like main character. It quickly got tedious how often things just went her way. She would take enormous leaps and everything just worked out with little to no consequences. An interesting story that was told well, but ultimately I just couldn't connect to any of the characters.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love the cover art. The Paper Wasp is a dark and twisted story of obsession and longing. Abie and Elise were high school friends. They drift apart. Now, several years on, Abie is a common woman, and Elise is a starlet. Abie is nothing, and Elise is everything. After reconnecting at a reunion, Abie goes to basically live with Elise in her fancy house in California. Abie becomes obsessed because she just wants to be something else. The plot is intriguing and different from other books I've read. ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Abby's mother is really happy that Abby will attend her high school reunion. After all, Abby had a breakdown and had dropped out of the University of Michigan to become a cashier in a Meijer grocery--Getting out a bit could help her our of her depression. Abby ends up reuniting with her dear friend from years earlier, the now-famous actress Elise. We come to find out Abby really has some major issues but only as we read further into the book do we see just how messed up she really is. I think th ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I received an advance reading copy of this book thanks to Grove Atlantic/Grove Press via NetGalley.

This is a tough one to review. I absolutely loved Acampora's writing style. Her prose was lyrical and her use of language elegant. However I was perplexed by the characters in this book, namely the protagonist Abby. At the beginning of the book she irritated me and by the end she just left me perplexed and baffled. A story that many people have depicted before, but that absolutely none have done
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, ebooks, netgalley
The Paper Wasp certainly was an interesting read! If you're looking for a fast-paced and action-filled novel, you'll be disappointed. The story deals mostly with our main character Abby, her dreams and thoughts and her obsession with Elise. Abby desperately wants her friendship with Elise to go back the way it was. She's longing for the deep connection she shared with Elise in their childhood, but Elise is now a famous actress in Hollywood and Abby works at a local supermarket still back in her ...more
Keirstin Smith (CloudOfThoughts)
The paper Wasp by author Lauren Acampora is a fun, gripping story. Relatable characters and gripping plot, you won’t want to miss this! Loved it!
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of The Paper Wasp in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 21 June 2019
ARC provided by Grove Press/Grove Atlantic in exchange for an honest review
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Paper Wasp tells the story of Abby Graven, a recluse who lives with her parents in Michigan. Once a budding artist, she gave up her art career and now she spends her time working as a supermarket cashier. She’s obsessed with an old friend from high school who has now become a Hollywood starlet. Abby has been stalking her since they lost touch in high school. She reads the tabloids and buys anything that has Elise’s name or picture on it.

Her life dramatically changes when she learns about her
Sally Nimmo
Dec 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: net-galley
This book failed to grab my interest. I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters or what happened to them. I skimmed through the pages at a breakneck pace. Sorry, just not my cup of tea.

Thanks to NetGalley for chance to read and review.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

An electrifying debut novel from the acclaimed author of The Wonder Garden, The Paper Wasp is a riveting knife-edge story of two women’s dark friendship of twisted ambition set against the backdrop of contemporary Hollywood

In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bri
Janice Lombardo
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Abby, the narrator, has dreams. Dreams that become true, that is. Her childhood best friend, Elise, is also her obsession. After years, Abby connects with Elise at their 10 year class reunion. Elise seems really happy to see Abby but Elise IS an actress. Abby leaves home a few months later to "visit" Elise in Los Angeles as a surprise. Elise wants to be in a film by Perren. Now, Perren happens to be Abby's goal for the utmost of inspiration. She follows him by reading all of his books and more.. ...more
McKenzie Allyshia
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
After reading The Paper Wasp, I am left feeling oddly empty and almost dissatisfied. In fact, honestly, I am unsure what I just read. Told in the view of one main character, I found myself unsure if I was missing something big or if the main character had mental health issues. There was a lot creative writing and I felt that the author did an amazing job with that. Between the dream state and awake state it was very well thought out. Some parts of the book were a little slower, but I found mysel ...more
Lorri Steinbacher
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Read in prepub. Due out June 11, 2018.

An interesting story of a female friendship that goes horribly wrong that features a starlet and her old childhood (obsessed?) friend who reconnect after years apart. You think the narrative is going to head one way, but it ends up in a very different place. Recommended for readers who enjoy complex female friendships with a darker side. If you like philosophy this will work for you as well, since there is a philosophical element that is woven into the story
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
From the first chapter, the beautiful writing of this novel captured my attention. I love the descriptions, and was particularly struck by the preciseness of Acampora's portrayal of how emotion and passion affect the psyche and life choices. (This is the part where I give you some examples of the beautiful writing, but I read this within 48 hours, and didn't stop to mark notes like I should have. Maybe that is a testimony to how captivated I was by The Paper Wasp.)
This is a dark and restless no
Nicola Weideling
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not my usual type of read, but I quite enjoyed this.

Abby is a loner and obsessed with a reclusive film maker. She has lost contact with Elise, her best friend from school, who is now becoming a big name in Hollywood, and is in a dead end job in the local town. However, at a school reunion, Abby and Elise meet again briefly, and their friendship is renewed. More on Abby's side than Elise's, it should be said, who takes a casual 'if you are ever in LA' comment by Elise as an invitation to fly acr
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Very, very immersive book. Abby's mind is such a strange place to inhabit: the world has such sharp edges and fateful encounters, such pain and such delusion. She clearly has mental illnesses that need taking care of, but it's interesting to see how she goes through the world with her darkness around her. I like to think that lots of what she saw/experience is tainted by bias, illness and what she hoped for. Taking every fact in the plot to face-value takes some of the story's shine for me.

I tho
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was drawn into the story. nice descriptive characters and that can be relatable in the way some feel(jealous) could feel when an old friend has moved away and become successful and the other remains back in their hometown. Not sure I know anyone who has gone to the length Abbey went. Made for a good fiction story that you could picture as you read. would read more from this author.
Nov 07, 2018 added it
The Paper Wasp was an interesting read for me! The story deals mostly with the main character Abby, her thoughts, her art, and her obsession with Elise, her best friend from her childhood. Abby is shy and feels unloved and odd. Elise has moved on to stardom in Hollywood, where she has become a famous actress. Abby is obsessed with Elise. She hears that she is coming back to their small town high school reunion, and even though she dreads going and having to deal with her former peers, she goes. ...more
Melissa Kirkman
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Thanks NetGalley & Grove Press for a chance to read this book in return for an honest review.

The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora is a look into the warped mind of Abby Graven, a solitary person obsessed with an old friend who has made it big in Hollywood. Told from Abby's perspective the book gives great insight into her mind and how it becomes warped by obsessive thoughts and her need to be her friends #1.

This book to me was a little weird but I did enjoy it. I loved the way it twisted and t
Molly Walker
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from Grove Press in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own
I really enjoyed this book, I even read it in a matter of a few days because I found it gripped me from the start. The plot was very interesting, I had no idea what was going to happen or what the outcome of the book would be right up until the very end. Despite this, it still felt very suspenseful the entire way through. I think the real triumph of this book was definitely the characters, A
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you like literary fiction and desperately flawed, manipulative and damaged characters, this is the book for you. Abby has been living a 9 to 5 life working at a local grocery while her best childhood friend went off to Hollywood as a child actor. They reunite in a booze fueled frenzy during a high school reunion and a half hearted invitation to come visit is exchanged. I suspect Abby suffers from some serious impulsivity issues and possible some other undiagnosed mental illnesses. This derang ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Lauren Acampora is the author of THE WONDER GARDEN, a collection of linked stories, and THE PAPER WASP, a novel forthcoming in June 2019.

THE WONDER GARDEN was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an Indie Next selection, and was chosen as one of the best books of the year by Amazon and NPR. It won the GLCA New Writers Award, was a finalist for the New England Book Aw
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »