Booksource Book Club invites you to read along with us! This month we gathered to talk about The Nest by Kenneth Oppel. The Nest is a suspenseful horror story that will keep young readers on the edge of their seats. I reviewed The Nest last year (it was one of my favorite books of the year). Here’s what other Booksource staffers had to say:The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Michelle: I’m really excited to hear what everybody has to say about it! To me, this book has all the makings of a classic horror story. It reminded me so much of Stephen King: it has all the classic tropes of the horror genre, but is still age appropriate.

Diane: I liked that there was no rational explanation given for what was happening, it was just something evil in the world that Steve had to contend with.

Brandi: Steve was a complex character, he felt he was a damaged person.

Michelle: The best horror novels are, at heart, character stories.

Brandi: I really liked the book itself, it’s a beautiful object. The book jacket feels like wasps’ nest material.

Andrea: I think I might be a bit more conservative than some of you, but I probably wouldn’t want to let a younger student read this. I had trouble thinking of how to direct anticipated questions in a classroom setting. I do like that the book portrayed a character with OCD, and conveyed the idea that not everyone is perfect.

Virginia: I had the same thoughts as Andrea, I wasn’t sure if this would be appropriate for more sensitive kids. But overall I did think it was in the “safe scary” category, and the language is very appropriate to interest level.

Michelle: I was so affected by this book that I’m almost crying just talking about it. To hear a 12-year-old boy say “I’m damaged’, it killed me. Steve feels that if he can’t fix himself, he can at least fix the baby. But by the end of the book, he realizes that it’s ok for the baby to be “broken,” and that it’s ok if he (Steve) is “broken” too. As a big fan of the horror genre, I’ve always found that the best books affect you emotionally, it just comes out in these terrifying ways.

Brandi: It was sad that Steve never called the baby by name, until the end. He had detached himself from the situation so much.

Katie: It was really scary to me how manipulative the queen wasp was; when she told Steve there was “no difference” between the wasp baby and his real baby brother, it was chilling. A lot of her speeches were really creepy. Like when she told Steve, “There has to be a part of me in you, and a part of you in me.”

Virginia: I like how they included a lot of life science in the book. You really learn a lot about wasps.

Brandi: Steve was such a hero at the end: the way he covered the baby and protected him from the wasps.

Diane: I was so mad at his parents for not taking care of the wasps’ nest earlier!

Sean: Being forgotten about by your parents when there’s a new baby is a very real horror for a lot of kids.

Michelle: Steve is so unwell, and it’s sad, though understandable, that he might be pushed aside by his parents.

Julie A.: Steve is pretty self-aware-he understands the situation. He knows what’s happening when he’s threatened with another trip to his psychiatrist.

Diane: I felt the illustrations by Jon Klassen were both appropriate and really creepy.

Lauren: I didn’t like them! I thought they were a bit sloppy.

Katie: I thought the illustration of the upside down baby-head was terrifying!

Julie A.: I liked how there were drawings of the wasps at the beginning of each chapter. By the time you get to the end of book, they’re taking over the page.

Brandi: I really connected with Steve about his fear of the dark. When I was little I used to pull the blankets over my head with just a little space left open for an air tube.

Erin: Horror isn’t really my genre, and I’ve never read Stephen King, but I liked this book. I thought it was really creepy but still appropriate.

Michelle: I love the horror genre. Like I said, the best horror is about characters, and there is a real and complete character arc for Steve in this book. You don’t see that a lot in kid’s fiction, especially kid’s genre fiction.

Virginia: Steve really grows, and by the end he’s willing to die for his baby brother.

Diona: I loved his sister Nicole, she was a bit of comic relief but was also the source of a lot of foreshadowing.

Erin: The queen wasp really bothered me! She was philosophizing and condescending, and she turned nasty really fast when Steve changed his mind about the wasp baby.

Sean: The queen wasp was so insidious, especially because kids are used to authority figures telling them what to do.

Diona: I thought it was really unfair that the parents blamed Vanessa, the babysitter, for Steve’s fears after she answers all his questions about wasps. This was kind of irresponsible, if you’re scared of something, isn’t it better to know as much as you can about something.

Diane: The parents were irresponsible! They don’t take care of the wasps’ nest even after they find out about Steve’s allergy.

Katie: Until the end, I probably wouldn’t have classified this as a horror book, I would have thought it was more sci-fi or fantasy.

Michelle: As someone who reads a lot of horror, I felt that the traditional elements of the genre were pretty evident from the beginning. But it’s interesting that there were different interpretations.

Virginia: I think this would be great for upper level students because there’s a real opportunity to delve deeper into the rich narrative.

Diane: The wasps need Steve’s permission and cynicism. They need him to say yes to their plans.

Virginia: Sometimes evil lives because of the best intentions.


We have SIGNED copies of The Nest to giveaway! Enter below for a chance to win a copy for your classroom!

Enter by completing the form below. Entries are limited to the United States. Contest ends 11:59 p.m. CST on March 31, 2016. Winners will be randomly selected.

Contest is closed. Congratulations to Lynn, Rebecca, Jennifer and Pamela!

Booksource Recommendations

The Nest by Kenneth OppelGrades 5-8, Lexile 640

The Boundless by Kenneth OppelGrade 4-7, Lexile 730

Silverwing by Kenneth OppelGrades 3-7, Level U, Lexile 660