The Nest – Have You Ever Wondered What Wasps Might Make In Their Nest?

Book Review : The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel

Spoiler Alert!



Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? This is a haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, from acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel (Silverwing, The Boundless) with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Celebrated author Kenneth Oppel creates an eerie masterpiece in this compelling story that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. Includes illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen.
(Courtesy of

Adult Point of View

The Nest is not easily categorized into a set genre, though it is called a gothic tale. Elements in The Nest include telepathy, cross-specie communication, exploration of neurosis and supernatural encounters. I would make a new genre called gothic eerie, and it has just the right amount of chills for a young audience. In fact, when I told a couple of adults about the book they both visibly shuddered at the imagery.

I was surprised that the writing style was for such a young audience, but I also began to really like it for that same reason. I have found it very hard to find the right fit in books for my very imaginative 10 year old boy. He has a broad range of books that have interested him, though few in number. He has previously liked ghost stories, historical fiction about disasters, Greek mythology and books that describe mechanics. He has been gobbling up The Nest!

Though The Nest is written for children Oppel has employed foreshadowing and the nest as a motif. Steve creates a nest in his bed, he wants to feel safe, but at the same time feels smothered by the blankets. The house is also described as a nest for the family. I like seeing layers of depth written within the story. My tween son was also aware of how the nest was being repeated.

Fans of odd books (and I mean this in the best of ways) will really enjoy The Nest.  I believe it is appropriate for ages 10+.

One more note, I loved the illustrations created by Jon Klassen. He evoked the mystery.

4 out of 5 stars

4 star

  • the Mother

If you liked this one you might like The Graveyard Book byNeil Gaiman (though, as a warning, the opening scene is pretty terrifying.)

Tween Point of View

I am 10 years old, and I like The Nest because it’s a horror storyIt hasn’t been very scary. I liked how the boy thought the wasps were angels.

4 out of 5 stars
4 star

Another book you might like is Watchdog and the Coyotes by Bill Wallace.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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