The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

The Nest

Written by Kenneth Oppel
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

13+ readers   Books of the Month   UKLA 2017   eBooks   
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Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | March 2016 Book of the Month A truly exceptional, uniquely unsettling work in which the stinging clarity and poignancy of Oppel’s writing is exquisitely echoed by Jon Klassen’s haunting illustrations.

Steve's baby brother, Theo, is sick and doctors are struggling to diagnose exactly what's wrong with him. Even if he becomes strong enough to undergo heart surgery, and even if the procedure is successful, he still won’t be completely well. While his parents are preoccupied with Theo, and while Steve struggles with his own anxieties, he dreams of an otherworldly being and her fluttering, glittering companions. ‘We've come because of the baby,’ she says. ‘We've come to help’, and Steve wonders if she might be an angel. While she turns out to be something entirely different, she offers Steve the chance to fix the fact that his brother’s ill. All he has to do is say yes, which he does. But when these dreams contort into nightmares and the line between Steve’s internal world and reality becomes horribly blurred, he wants out of what he agreed to, but is told 'once you say yes, you can't say no'. And then there’s the menacing wasps’ nest swelling in the roof of the family home, and the sinister phone calls from Mr Nobody… As his world implodes, Steve feels ‘all in pieces’, but must find the strength to save his brother.

While comparisons to A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay) and Coraline (Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean) come to mind, this is a remarkably original creation, at once an astute allegorical portrait of childhood anxieties, and a thrilling, ticking time bomb of a tale that creeps under your skin and pierces your heart. ~ Joanne Owen


The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Award-winning 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. With illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen.

The first time I saw them, I thought they were angels. The baby is sick. Mom and Dad are sad. And all Steve has to do is say, Yes to fix everything. But yes is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back? Treading the thin line between dreams and reality, Steve is stuck in a nightmare he can't wake up from and that nobody else understands. And all the while, the wasps' nest is growing, and the 'angel' keeps visiting Steve in the night. A haunting coming of age story that will hold you captive, The Nest is lyrical, surreal and one of the most moving stories you'll read this year.


“Oppel uses a dark and disturbing lens to produce an unnerving psychological thriller.” – Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel wrote his first novel at the age of 15, and enterprisingly sent it to his favourite writer, Roald Dahl. Publication soon followed, and since then he has written more than twenty for which he has won many prizes in his native Canada. He now lives and works in Toronto with his wife and children.

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Book Info


256 pages


Kenneth Oppel
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David Fickling Books

Publication date

3rd March 2016




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