Wasps in the Ice Cream by Tim McGregor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wasps in the Ice Cream is a captivating Coming of Age Horror novella that quickly reminded me why I love this subgenre.
It’s the Summer of 1987 and Mark Prewitt spends his time working at the local ice cream shop, avoiding his parents, tinkering on his dream car and engaging in miscellaneous hijinks with his best buds.
When the other boys stage a prank on the mysterious Farrow sisters, it goes too far and one of them gets hurt. Mark is riddled with guilt after the fact. He should have stopped it, but he didn’t.
Seeking to make amends with the girls, he ends up befriending the middle sister, George.
She’s unlike anyone he has ever known and he’s drawn to her like wasps to ice cream. The more time he spends with George, the less time he has for everyone else.
Mark finds himself keeping a lot of secrets, but he should have known in a town this small, it was bound to blow up in his face. What happens when you fall for the girl everyone hates? Mark is about to find out.
Spoiler Alert: It’s not good.
Y’all, I really enjoyed my time with this story. I know when some people think of Horror books, they think, scary books, things that scare me, and then if they don’t get scared by a book, they say, this isn’t Horror.
For me, Horror is a much more nuanced genre than that and thinking only books that literally scare you can be classified as Horror is simplifying the genre unfairly.
A good example of this is one of my fave subgenres of Horror, the Coming of Age story. Wasps in the Ice Cream is a perfect example, channeling all of the essential vibes. This basically transported me back to the Summer of 1987.
Coming of Age always hits home for me. Literally nothing could be happening and I still find myself so invested.
There’s something about the innocence and feeling of possibility in viewing the world through that lens. The emotional traumas and challenges the protagonists have experienced up to this point in their lives only scratch the surface of what the world will ultimately dish out for them. It’s such a special time. Nostalgia for days.
Also, it’s in the presentation. You generally have an Adult narrator, who is reflecting back on some pivotal moment in their life. Something that impacted them so deeply, it helped to shape the adults they became; good or bad.
There also tends to be powerful friendships and the exploration of sexuality. All of this is mixed together with deeper things that scare us; sometimes supernatural, sometimes not.
I felt McGregor did an amazing job telling Mark’s story. It felt so authentic. I believed everything I was being told and understood how the events of this Summer shaped Mark’s future, choices, wants and desires.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys an engaging Coming of Age Horror story. If you are just looking for scares though, you’d be best looking somewhere else.
Thank you so much to the publisher, RDS Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. The audiobook is fantastic. The narrator truly captured Mark’s character. Well done!