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The Nest: 02/20/18

The Nestby Kenneth Oppel

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel is an excellent example of middle grade horror. Let me be upfront and warn you: if you have a fear of wasps, don't read this book. Even if you don't — be warned this book might induce nightmares. If, however, you like nightmares, this book is for you.

Set on Salt Spring Island, and possibly Vancouver (for the book's mention of a university), it's the story of a family welcoming home a baby boy with congenital defects and "angels" who promise Steve (the middle grade aged narrator) to fix his brother. Except — they're not angels, they're wasps — like X-Files or Nightvale or Supernatural type wasps.

Imagine if you will a faerie changeling story except that instead of a human baby being exchanged for a sickly, petulant faerie baby, a sickly human baby is exchanged for a healthy changeling baby who happens to be grown in a nest from a mixture of human DNA and the wood from the house where he will reside.

This is the point (and it comes pretty early in the book) where you either decide to say yes, as Steve does, or close the book and mentally burn down the hive with a flame thrower.

If you say yes (and I hope you do) you'll treated to a fascinating discussion of what it means to be normal and what it means to love a child with congenital defects. What it means to love a child who might not survive infancy. What it means to have frequent trips to the doctor or to the hospital. What it means to love someone who may never meet milestones.

And then once Steve realizes that yes, his baby brother (who up until now he doesn't call by name), Theodore, is worth loving and worth saving, the horror aspect of the book lets out all the stops.

Five stars

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Monday, February 26, 2018 at 22:15:28

Laura @ Library of Clean Reads

Okay, so not sure about this one. I don't enjoy horror but I'm curious about the underlying message of acceptance.

Comment #2: Monday, March 05, 2018 at 23:10:00


I hope you give it a try since you otherwise like the author and the message. If it turns out to not be your kind of book, you can always stop.

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