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The Nest
ISBN: 9781481432337
Author: Oppel, Kenneth/ Klassen, Jon (ILT)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: October 2016
Retail: $7.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
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Binding Type: Paperback
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Annotation: Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? Kenneth Oppel’s (Silverwing, The Boundless) haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, is one of the most acclaimed books of the year, receiving six starred reviews. 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?
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
- Juvenile Fiction | Horror & Ghost Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Special Needs
Library of Congress Subjects:
Wasps; Fiction.
Babies; Fiction.
Supernatural; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2014038101
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 7.00" H x 5.00" L x 1.00" W
Bargain Category: Science Fiction, Middle School, Chapter Books
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring)
Steve's baby brother is sick, so his parents don't pay attention when Steve becomes afraid of the wasps in the backyard. In a recurring dream, a voice offers to make everything better, but the easy fix starts to look like too sinister a bargain. Oppel's language is straightforward, but the emotional resonance deep. Klassen's black-and-white drawings astutely capture the magnitude of a child's imagination.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #5)
Steve's baby brother came home from the hospital sick ("there was something wrong with his heart and his eyes and his brain") and needing lots of care, so his parents don't pay much attention when Steve becomes afraid of the wasps in the backyard. He finds comfort in a recurring dream in which a compassionate voice offers to make everything better. All Steve must do is say yes to the offer, and his dream confidante will turn her promise of a healthy baby into reality. But as he learns more about the wasps that have built their nest outside baby Theo's room, this easy fix starts to look like too sinister a bargain. Oppel's (Airborn, rev. 7/04, and sequels; The Boundless, rev. 5/14) newest novel is a tight and focused story about the dangers of wishing things back to normal at any cost. The language is straightforward, rarely derailed by extraneous details, but the emotional resonance is deep, and Steve's precarious interactions with the honey-voiced queen make one's skin crawl. Klassen's full-page black-and-white drawings—simple, but with maximum impact, in shades of light, dark, and darker—astutely capture the magnitude of a child's imagination when he can rely only upon himself. sarah berma Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2015 July #3)

Oppel (The Boundless) enters Gaimanesque territory with his portrayal of Steve, an older brother struggling with anxiety and his family's distress after his newborn brother, Theodore, is diagnosed with a rare congenital disorder. After a curious gray and white wasp from the hive above their house stings Steve, he develops the ability to speak to the hive's queen, who promises to replace the ailing baby with a new one. Agreeing to the queen's offer, Steve confronts a dangerous traveling knife sharpener, his parents' concerns over his mental health, and strange phone calls from Mr. Nobody, a family legend turned real, it seems. As Theodore's health deteriorates, Steve must decide what is best for his brother and what he will do to save him. Oppel infuses the natural world of the hive with chilling scenes of the queen's heartlessness ("Before you know it, you'll forget all about that crappy little broken baby") while Klassen's graphite drawings hauntingly depict the family's stress (an early image, all angles and shadows, shows Steve's parents standing solemnly over the baby's crib), as well as increasing tension between Theodore's complications and the wasps' growing power. In exploring the boundaries of science, self-determination, and belief, Oppel uses a dark and disturbing lens to produce an unnerving psychological thriller. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2015 August)

Gr 5–7—Steve has always been a worrier, but since his brother was born he's become even more anxious. When Steve starts having dreams about otherworldly wasps, he takes comfort in their message that everything will be okay. But the more he learns about their plan to "fix" the baby's congenital condition, the more he's conflicted. The tension and unease grow as Steve begins to wonder if the wasps are real or imagined. The story comes to a climactic end that is cathartic and comforting. Set in a modern-day suburb, this quiet yet emotionally haunting book thoughtfully explores themes of safety, anxiety, and the beauty of the imperfect. Klassen's black-and-white graphite illustrations complement the sensitive and powerful narrative, written in first person from Steve's perspective. The images have a retro, printmaker feel and never reveal the entire picture, leaving much to the imagination—what is hidden in the unknown? Is it something bad or good? How can you know? The characters are believable and strongly developed, especially Steve, who deals with anxiety and possibly obsessive compulsive disorder. Scientific information on the life cycle, anatomy, and behaviors of wasps is woven in a way that furthers the plot. VERDICT This affecting middle grade psychological thriller is recommended as a first purchase for libraries.—Amy Seto Forrester, Denver Public Library

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