Wasps in the Ice Cream
by Tim McGregor
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 10 Feb 2023
Summer 1987: Mark Prewitt’s only priority is to avoid his dad’s new wife and waste time with his friends, but idle nights are the devil’s playground. When his friends decide to pull a cruel prank on the reclusive and strange Farrow sisters, Mark regrets caving in to peer pressure.
Wanting to make amends, Mark is drawn into the mysterious world of the Farrow girls, finding a kindred spirit in the middle sister, George. She is unlike anyone he’s ever known; a practicing witch who uses folk magic to protect her family. They bond over books, loneliness, and homemade spells. She even invites Mark to join a séance to contact her dead sister, who died under mysterious circumstances.
Keeping their relationship secret, Mark learns that living a double life in a town this small is impossible. When the secret is exposed, and his friends plot to punish the witch sisters for stealing one of their own, Mark is forced to choose between these two worlds.
“Filled with evocative and captivating scenes, strong female characters, and an engaging narration, readers will become engrossed immediately, while the threat and fear at the heart of this story, satisfyingly, sneaks up on them.” —Booklist, starred
“This coming-of-age horror relies less on supernatural terror than combustible human elements, but features sympathetic characters and sharp plotting. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 71 members
I love this intense, climactic thriller. I was incredibly invested in the characters and plot. Readers are going to love this incredible novel.
This was a really well done story, it did more than I thought it would do. It did more than I was hoping for and wasn't just a creepy-crawly book. I enjoyed that the characters felt like real people and the story itself worked with the characters. I enjoyed the way Tim McGregor wrote this and am excited to read more from him.
"Her rage evaporates, and she becomes weirdly calm. Her hand clamps over my shoulder. “If you’re not here for them, why are you here? Did you come to spy on us, Mark Nobody? Come to scout our defenses and report back to those brutes in town? Did you come to smash a window?”
Thank you @netgalley for the ARC of Wasps in the Ice Cream by Tim McGregor. It will be available Feb 7, 2023.
Wasps in the Ice Cream is a different kind of coming of age novel. I love horror novels that are more than horror and are about the relationships with the characters. It combines the normal conflicts of growing up in a small town and high school relationships with a witchy vibes.
Mark becomes friends with George Farrow, a self proclaimed witch. Her family is also the target of town bullying and pranks. Mark keeps their relationship a secret, living a double life.
Absolutely no hesitation in giving this coming of age story a 5 star rating. It's short and easy to read. The writing is excellent and it's heartbreaking and healing all at the same time. Excellent.
This was such a great book! The characters and the setting was well developed. I felt all the feels while reading this book. It had the right amount of nostalgia and motivated me to continue to turn the pages to see what happened next. I laughed and cried and couldn't wait to rad what happened next! It was a truly remarkable book and i cant wait to read what the author releases next.
How can you not be intrigued by the title alone? Being a kid from the 80’s, McGregor created not only a great coming of age tale, but a walk down memory lane. Horror movies on VHS tape, boring summers and no cell phones! Besides making me feel old, this was one of my top picks for 2022. Elements of the supernatural combined with dark pasts with deadly secrets make for a quick read. Wasps brings a level of dread from the start that builds to a dramatic end.
Wow! This is a superb coming of age story with a wicked supernatural element woven throughout. But, at it's CORE, it's a tragic love story!
I ate this book up. It's filled with great characters, nostalgia filled moments that brought me back to my teenage years, and it gets creepier and creepier as it goes until it's explosive heart wrenching conclusion. And it does all this without resorting to gratuitous gore or sex. Nothing wrong with those things, of course, but this is a great example of how unsettling a book can be without those elements.
It would not surprise me if this novel makes top ten lists in 2023. It's certainly one of my picks!
Wow this book was quite the surprise. I was expecting something kind of on the light side maybe a little cheesy, but this had so much more depth than I could have hoped for. The characters were wonderfully thought out, and the story was so engaging. I’m so glad and thankful to have read this and even though I’m a sucker for the cheesy stories, I’m actually very happy that This was not one of them.
Wasps In The Ice Cream is a story of teenagers trying to navigate small town life in the 80s. The familiar characters are there - the protagonist, the best friend, the sidekick, the outsider and a cast of parents and others. Our main character, Mark, is at a point where he is maturing, needing to figure some things out, come to terms with the past, and make some tough decisions.
This book had me hooked after the first paragraph - I loved it and found it to be incredibly engaging. This book is not all sunshine and rainbows and it takes you on some unexpected twists and turns. Mr. McGregor constructed relatable characters and a many layered story that makes you feel the emotional struggle. I was there with them in Brandenburg and rooting for them to make good choices, while knowing that adolescence isn’t all about that. As someone who grew up in Small Town USA in the 80s, I knew these characters and this town in some form.
This isn’t a singular coming of age story, however, as there is a current of magic and the occult thrown in. In some stories, this can feel forced, but here it added to the complexity of the narrative. It wasn’t overdone, but was intertwined in a way that felt believeable.
I did not want this book to end and I find myself still thinking about it. Well done, Mr. McGregor - 10/10 would recommend!
Thank you to Tim McGregor and Raw Dog Screaming Press for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
I have come to know and trust Tim McGregor’s story-telling voice this last few years, so I dipped into Wasps with high expectations. It certainly did not disappoint.
I read it over a period of just two days, then added it straight to my ‘Top Reads of 2022’ shelf.
One of Tim’s great strengths is characterization. When introducing the reader to his characters there’s no ‘telling’ with Tim. It’s all ‘showing.’ Here are a few examples...
Mark’s friend, Kevin: “Kombat Kevin we call him, because every stitch of clothing he owns is camouflage. Kevin is all ropey muscle and hair-trigger temper.”
Mark’s Dad: “His hands shoot up like a referee to stop me. Dad’s idea of parenting isn’t that different from dog-training—single word commands and hand gestures.”
The way in which Tim’s characters contrast with one another is sheer genius. Unlikely friendships, flawed characters, as readers he makes us feel every ounce of their angst because the characters are so easy to connect with.
One chapter in and I had fallen hook, line and sinker. From thereon the prose flowed smooth as warm honey.
Wasps is well and truly set in the 80s which made me connect to so many of the cultural references and therefore made the story one of total immersion.
On an emotional level, Mark’s experiences cut like like a knife. His grief, young love, the urgency we feel at that age to ‘fit in.’ There were times when the story-telling stole my breath. And then of course there were the supernatural elements. The spooky house, the witch bottles, the séance etc. But the real horror came in the form of how Mark and George’s relationship was thwarted from every direction. Oh, the cruelty of folk!
One last thing (though having made so many highlights I could go on and on), Tim McGregor always has the last word, literally. His endings always deliver an unexpected twist that leaves you thinking, and that suits me just fine. I’m the kind of reader who enjoys the last knot tied a little loosely. It encourages me to think about the characters long after I finish reading.
Wasps in the Ice Cream
by Tim McGregor
This was a brilliantly written coming-of-age story. I love this intense, climactic thriller. It did have some shock-factor as well as sadness. I think it will be a HUGE hit.
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