The Nest, Kenneth Oppel
In the interest of keeping the spooky train rolling this month, I decided to FINALLY read The Nest by Kenneth Oppel. It had been in my TBR pile for a while, and after dealing with my own wasp infestation I figured it was high time to pick The Nest up. What I discovered was an unsettling look at a young boy’s mental health as he comes to grips with his newborn brother’s own illness, with a heaping helping of the uncanny and supernatural thrown into the mix. The Nest is a wonderfully creepy thriller (more so even than most of the adult books I’ve read billed as such) and I loved every page of it. And while it’s billed for young readers, I genuinely think that The Nest is the kind of story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
It’s well established from the get-go that The Nest’s young protagonist, Steve, is a very anxious kid. In fact, Steve can probably count his worries on both hands. Steve worries about his newborn baby brother, too small and weak to fight the devastating illness he’s stricken with, and he worries about his parents, who are understandably struggling to cope with the thought of losing their youngest family member. When a mysterious (and to readers, instantly sinister) “angel” that begins to appear in his dreams offers to ‘fix’ the baby, Steven thinks maybe his nightly prayers have been answered. All he has to do is say “yes” and all his problems will go away. But of course “yes” is a powerful and dangerous word, and it can’t easily be taken back.