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The Nest

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  8,844 ratings  ·  2,097 reviews
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 ba ...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Simon & Schuster
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Audrey It definitely depends on the child. If this ten year old is mature enough to read Coraline and watch Labyrinth, I think they could handle this. It has…moreIt definitely depends on the child. If this ten year old is mature enough to read Coraline and watch Labyrinth, I think they could handle this. It has some big concepts, but also some good moral messages. It is certainly creepy, but many children enjoy that spooky feeling. I know I did.

Also, I think other commentors talking scarily about unspecific "mental illness" in relation to this book, and saying children should be kept from the book because of that, are being pretty scaremongery. Anxiety and OCD are disorders, and medically are generally called "mental health conditions." And they are issues a lot of young people do have to deal with, in relation to their family members and to themselves. Once again, each child is different for how scary this book might be to them, but trying to pretend these issues don't exist helps no one, and can be actively harmful.(less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,844 ratings  ·  2,097 reviews

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Maggie Stiefvater
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The theme of this book is that nothing is perfect, but this book is a Liar McLiar, because this book is perfect.

This is a wise little tome of fairy-fuckery in the guise of a wasp nest. It's a magical story, and a kind one, and a giant in few words. I wish I had had it to give to my wry and unsentimental 11 year old anxious OCD-ridden self, but I'm very glad that I had it to give my wry and unsentimental 11 year old anxious OCD-ridden daughter. My favorite novel back then was The Fairy Rebel by L
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
This was such a strange book. The writing wasn't my favorite, which is surprising, because I loved The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel. The writing in The Boundless was rich and lively, but the writing in The Nest was a little bit dry for my liking. I did enjoy the pictures drawn by illustrator John Klassen. Unfortunately though, this book just fell short for me. ...more
this is a case of good book, wrong reader. i gave it a three because i liked it, but i didn't crazy-like it. i've liked oppel's YA novels in the past, and i was excited that this was going to be available at BEA, but when i saw it was middle-grade instead of YA i was a bit wary. i'm just a little too old to appreciate books for the 8-12 age range. picture books, yes; YA, yes, but middle grade is the overlooked middle child in my reading spectrum, and it has to have a pretty solid hook to win my ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
a very interesting and weird tale
This is a bizarre and creepy (very, very creepy) middle grade book. We follow Steve, who struggles so much with anxiety that he has panic attacks and sees a therapist. With a younger sister and a new baby brother, Steve definitely feels the weight of big-brother-responsibility on his shoulders.

To make matters worse, his baby brother is terribly ill; the doctors aren't really sure what's wrong with him, and because of this, Steve's parents have to spend a lot of time at the hospital with the bab
"People lie and say they don't want perfect. But really they do. Perfect bodies and minds and comfy chairs and cars and vacations and boyfriends and girlfriends and pets and children. Above all, children."

Steve's new baby brother is anything but perfect; the poor thing has a congenital disorder, and may not survive.


Everyone in the household is suffering from the strain, but no one more than Steve. He's been having vivid, disturbing dreams of a figure standing at the end of his bed. One night, h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
HOW is this appropriate for children?! This is intense and terrifying. Not elementary school fare in my opinion. Frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t have nightmares after finishing it. Would not recommend for children under 14, sensitive children or those with anxiety, anyone with a bee allergy or anyone with an Epipen.
I thought this was a bizarre story with depressing, heavy themes and a blurb that provides no insight or warning as to where this is heading. Here it is: (view spoiler)
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
What the hell?

Okay, this was super weird and I loved it and would recommend it to most of my adult friends here if you also like weird and creepy stuff...

But I borrowed this book from the children’s library?!!?! Why is something so strange and chilling being aimed at middle schoolers?

Anyways, great book, read it but don’t let your kids read it.
If you have a fear of wasps, this book will terrify you. If you don't have a fear of wasps, this book will still terrify you because you'll have developed a fear of wasps. Quite possibly the scariest middle grade book I've ever read. ...more
Sharon Siepel
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
When an adult can't put a book down that is geared to 8-12 year olds, that is really saying something. And I could not put this book down.

The main character in this book, Steve, is an anxiety-ridden boy who copes with his fear in a very OCD manner, going through ritual behaviors like hand-washing and repeating lists. Adding to his anxiety, his parents have just returned from the hospital with his newborn brother,Theo. Theo suffers from severe disabilities and life-threatening conditions. Tension
Rachel Bea
Re-read 12/27
That I grew up anxious and feeling different or not normal means that I can relate to the protagonist, Steve. There's no explicit statement that Steve struggled with OCD and anxiety, but the proof is there in his various behaviors, like having a ritual at bedtime where he reads his lists. I found the story as emotional and creepy as the first time I read it, and possibly enjoyed it even more.

Original review:
Disturbing as hell. I can't believe this is a kid's book. At the heart
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a fast, interesting and suspenseful story. Read it in one afternoon because I was hooked. I highly enjoyed my time reading this one.
Stefani Sloma
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s really hard to tell you what The Nest is about, because, well…it’s strange. Steve, whose family has been struggling to cope with his sickly new-born brother, finds his dreams suddenly invaded by angels who offer to “fix” his brother. But Steve realizes that his angel is actually a wasp queen. All he has to do is say yes to her and his problems will be fixed, but that’s such a difficult and powerful word.

The best words, to me, that describe The Nest are these: strange, haunting, lovely, sad,
The Nest was one of several audio books I picked up through Overdrive while waiting for more credits on audible. I’m a poor reader, and free is always nice.

I am so glad that I picked this one out of the pages and pages of options. As my original review stated, this book is delightfully fucked. It combines a few of my favorite things into one nice little book: Young Adult, Horror and mind-fuckery.

Let me introduce you to Steve. He’s a kid. 12? 13? Somewhere in that general age range. Steve is a
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kenneth Oppel and Jon Klassen are both titans of children's literature. Their first collaboration is a creepy confection sure to delight fans of CORALINE. I hate to make the same comparison as the marketing, but this is one of those cases where it is true.

Steve's baby brother is sick. It is a congenital problem, and he needs surgery, and he might not ever be completely normal. That's when Steve first dreams about the angels, the wasps, who offer to help. At first it seems like his dreams might j
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome read!! There is a very creepy ambiance in this book, very creepy when you considered the fact that it,s consider a middle-grade book. Not too creepy, I think the kids can take it. The ambiance was awesome all the way through, at the end we get a more action pack scenes that look more like middle-grade action, but it was still entertaining. I like the weirdest of it all, the originality of it and the dark side it has. Kind of an unique read honestly! And also the dust jacket for this edit ...more
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
"'Young people are much more open-minded. Your brains are still so beautifully honest and accepting and supple.'"

This was an odd tale about creepy wasps, changelings, and a determined brother. It had themes of perfection, anxiety, family, and dreams.

I had no idea what direction this book would take - it was a random library find and the cover praise of it being “striking”, “unnerving”, and “haunting” pulled me in. I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as that praise, but it did make an int
Julia Sapphire
3.5 ish

TW: anxiety and OCD

I wrote a very thought-out review and it got deleted so I'm bitter and not rewriting it:)
My first audiobook, and this was…. WEIRD

First things first, This book should not be categorized as middle-grade

I don’t see why this book falls under that category. Just because the protagonist is some 10 years old? Huh, How about marking The Book Thief as middle-grade then? The Nest is more of a magical realism story, and I wouldn’t recommend it for kids.

Despite what the cover and title makes you believe, The Nest is not some spooky mystery.

It is told through the pov of Steven. Steven has a sis
I actually listened to the audiobook and it was thrilling and captivating. The story starts out somewhat seemingly normal. Steven, a tween aged boy has to deal with his anxieties, his OCD, and his family drama. His newborn brother Theo, was born with some congestive disorders and the doctors are very concerned with his prognosis. As his parents and baby brother frequently travel to and from the hospital, Steven is forced to grow up rather quickly, often overseeing the care his younger sister. Al ...more
Max Lau • Maxxesbooktopia
What a surprise! Review to come...
Rashika (is tired)
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Warning: this book contains scary bugs.

If you know me, you know I hate bugs.  I am a scardy-cat and *will* hide in my room in the presence of one. Why did I read the book then you ask? Because KENNETH OPPEL, goddamnit! I adored the Airborn series as a kid so I decided I wanted to read more books by Oppel, and here we are. I am so glad I read this book in spite of my fear of bugs because it is so well written and so adorable and filled w
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The books which I award the highest ratings are the books that make me FEEL.

This book, though small in size, was great in substance. The brief synopsis intrigued me. The Nest is about an older brother, Steve, desperate to help his ailing newborn brother, enlists the help of an unlikely sort: a wasp queen. She tells him they can help his baby brother, but little does Steve know that there are sinister undertones in that promise. Strongly reminiscent of Coraline and David Bowie's Labyrinth, alt
Amy Bruestle
Oct 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Honestly, I’m really not sure why I even finished this book. I think mainly because I was trying to understand where the author was going with it...but that never happened. I mean, I understood, I guess. But how dumb? I literally have no words. I feel like I just read 200 odd pages of nothingness. Like, what was the point of the book? In the beginning, it starts out somewhat decent, and it makes you kinda curious, and then there’s a tiny bit of suspense throughout...but all for what? Leading up ...more
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
First of all, this book is terrifying. If I had read it when I was twelve I would probably have been scarred for life, and I would never have felt safe around wasps ever again. The fact that The Nest was extremely disquieting was not really a problem, I actually liked that about the book, but all of the suspense fell short in the end.

It is unclear whether the main character, Steve, has a mental illness or not, which I liked in the beginning, but that ambivalence flattened out the ending. There
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
This book has gotten some hype, but it's well warranted. It's a horror story designed for middle grade readers. The beautiful book features illustrations by Jon Klassen. It reminded me of multiple stories that I've read- including Coraline by Neil Gaiman and a story by Karen Russell (can't remember the title of the story).

This is actually quite a scary book, but I recommend it highly. Well-written, innovative and creepy.
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
Wow. So if SKELLIG by David Almond is Santa Claus, then THE NEST is the Krampus. Sort of the same in principle, but ending on a much more brutal note. Jon Klassen's black on black illustrations add just the right amount of ominous creepiness, and the cover (both look and feel) add to it as well. ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This was such a surprising read.

I've never heard of any one talk about this book, I had no idea what it was going in. I picked it up thinking it was horror, it isn't, but it's so surprisingly good nontheless.

The best way for me to describe this book is magical realism, it's really weird but so beautiful at the same time.

I'm not sure what age group this book is aimed at. The writing is very simplistic and the main character is young, but old enough to be left at home on their own. However
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
No matter how many times I tried to convince myself The Nest is set in the middle of summer when light and color are at their peak, I never really believed it and could only imagine the story in the darkest, bleakest parts of winter when the world is devoid of color.

Studies have shown "that sadness can affect our vision, making the world appear more gray, by impairing the neural processes involved in color perception." The effect is most pronounced in depression.

Color and seasons seem like thing
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Madison County NC...: The Nest 1 1 Nov 04, 2020 07:18AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel --> Starting 14th January 8 8 Jan 16, 2018 01:49PM  
Write Reads Podcast: Write Reads #47 The Nest 1 5 Jan 11, 2017 01:45PM  

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I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords ...more

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“The baby was warm against my chest. I knew I was broken too. I wasn't like other people. I was scared and weird and anxious and sad lots of the time, and I didn't know why. My parents thought I was abnormal, I was pretty sure. They said I wasn't, but you don't get sent to a therapist if you're normal.

Sometimes we really aren't supposed to be the way we are. It's not good for us. And people don't like it. You've got to change. You've got to try harder and do deep breathing and maybe one day take pills and learn tricks so you can pretend to be more like other people. Normal people. But maybe Vanessa was right, and all those other people were broken too in their own ways. Maybe we all spent too much time pretending we weren't.”
“Yes' is a very powerful word. It's like opening a door. It's like fanning a flame. It's the most powerful word in the world.” 9 likes
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