The Nest (Hardcover)

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By Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

Best described as "creepy", Oppel's new novel reads like a fever dream (for kids). In The Nest, a young boy strikes a bargain with a swarm of wasps who promise to make the health problems of his baby brother go away. Yet what seems to be a good idea at first turns out to be quite the opposite. Eerie appearances by a "working" toy telephone, a bizarre neighborhood knife salesman, and many dream-dialogues with a queen bee anchor this very gripping novel. Ideal for kids (8-13) looking for a thriller! — Aubrey Restifo

If Neil Gaiman's Coraline and David Almond's Skellig had a baby, it would be in this nest. This is possibly the most frightening gothic tale I've read in many a year - a creeptastic modern twist on the classic fairy-changeling legend. Steven's baby brother was born with multiple medical problems, an ongoing crisis which has their parents frantic and distracted. Their distraction leaves Steven emotionally abandoned, and he must struggle alone to suppress his mounting anxiety with breathing techniques, compulsive rituals, and wishful thinking. When offered a chance to "fix" the baby, Steven agrees, only to learn that the bargain he has made comes at a terrible price. For upper elementary readers who like a good pulse-pounding scare. — Jennifer Armstrong


The Nest leaves a lasting mark on the memory.” —The New York Times Book Review

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?

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.

About the Author

Kenneth Oppel is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide and been adapted as an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn won a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children’s Novel of the Year by the London Times. He is also the author of Half Brother, This Dark Endeavor, Such Wicked Intent, and The Boundless. Born on Canada’s Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada; in England and Ireland; and now resides in Toronto with his wife and children. Visit him at

Jon Klassen is a Canadian-born author-illustrator. He has written and illustrated the acclaimed Hat series, including I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat. Highlights of his illustrated books are Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, Sam & Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett, The Dark by Lemony Snicket, and The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse also by Mac Barnett. His books have won a Caldecott medal and two Caldecott honors and other international awards. He lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and son.

Praise For…

*"With subtle, spine-chilling horror at its heart, this tale of triumph over monsters—both outside and in—is outstanding....Printz-winning, New York Times best-selling Oppel and Caldecott-winning Klassen are a match made in kid-lit heaven. Expect ample buzz."

— Booklist - Starred Review

*"Compelling and accessible."
— Kirkus Reviews - Starred Review

* "Oppel uses a dark and disturbing lens to produce an unnerving psychological thriller."
— Publisher's Weekly - Starred Review

* "Emotionally haunting...This affecting middle grade psychological thriller is recommended as a first purchase"
— School Library Journal - Starred Review

* "a tight and focused story about the dangers of wishing things back to normal at any cost....the emotional resonance is deep, and Steve’s precarious interactions with the honey-voiced queen make one’s skin crawl."
— The Horn Book - Starred Review

*"Readers are challenged to examine questions about what "normal" is...all in the guise of a fantastical thriller."
— Shelf Awareness - starred review

"Striking and scary at once...The Nest leaves a lasting mark on the memory, and by the end, Oppel tenderly champions the world of the broken and anxious, the sick and the flawed. Readers will find much to savor here, both scary and subtle."
— The New York Times Book Review

"A sophisticated horror story...frightening and uncanny but also deeply humane in its probing of the way value may be given to, and taken from, imperfect life."
— The Wall Street Journal

"Effectively taps into primal fears...a vicarious thrill."
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A quick read, with the right amount of suspense and mystery. ...Recommended."
— School Library Connection

Product Details
ISBN: 9781481432320
ISBN-10: 148143232X
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 256
Language: English
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