December 22nd, 2015 by Nancy
I’m not a fan of bugs, but I’ll make an exception for a good read, and one such exception is The Nest by Kenneth Oppel.
Summer vacation is supposed to be fun and carefree, but no matter what, Steve will worry. He’s anxious about everything: his parents, his little sister, and especially about his newborn baby brother, who is always at the hospital because he was born with a congenital condition.
In his dreams, what appears to be an angel speaks to Steve and offers to “fix” the baby — but she needs Steve’s help. Over time, Steve discovers that the angel is actually a very unique wasp queen, who promises that he can have a perfectly healthy baby brother. But at what price?
As the book moves along, we get to know Steve and his family more: His parents are preoccupied with the baby, and his sister is still too young to understand how sick the baby is. It seems like it’s all up to Steve to figure out if he should help the wasp queen and her hive “fix” the baby.
This is the best kind of scary story: As you’re reading, you’ll feel very tense and relate to how anxious Steve is, but you can’t help but turn the pages to find out what happens! The super spooky black and white illustrations by Jon Klassen also contribute to the tense atmosphere of the book.
Side note: Jon Klassen normally draws uber-adorable drawings like this…
In The Nest, his illustrations are like this…
One teensy complaint I have about the book is that there’s a mysterious character named Mr. Nobody, and I would have liked to find out more about his story and how he came into Steve’s story. But overall, I would recommend this book to all Kidsmomo readers who like a thrill and a thoughtful read, especially fans of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, or Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley.
The Nest not just a scary story, though. By the end, it reminded me that people can be tricked for the right reasons and you can always make up for your mistakes. It’s okay not to be perfect.
Like I said before: Even though bugs are my #1 phobia, I really enjoyed The Nest. I do not, however, recommend reading this right before bedtime (my mistake).
Nancy had nightmares about wasps and maggots after finishing this book, but still recommended it to many people the day after. Use that information wisely.