The Nest Review (Kids Horror)

Title: The Nest | Author: Kenneth Oppel, John Klassen (illustrator) | Publisher: HarperCollins | Pub. Date: 2015-9-29 | Pages: 256 | ISBN13: 9781443438629 |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Genre: Children’s Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Severe sibling/child | Source: Library | Purchase on Amazon

The Nest

Kenneth Oppel’s most haunting story yet . . .

She was very blurry, not at all human looking. There were huge dark eyes, and a kind of mane made of light, and when she spoke, I couldn’t see a mouth moving, but I felt her words, like a breeze against my face, and I understood her completely.

“We’ve come because of the baby,” she said. “We’ve come to help.”

In this beautiful, menacing novel, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, an anxious boy becomes convinced that angels will save his sick baby brother. But these are creatures of a very different kind, and their plan for the baby has a twist. Layer by layer, he unravels the truth about his new friends as the time remaining to save his brother ticks down. – GoodreadsBook cover for The Nest

The Nest Review


The Nest is the most disturbing children’s horror book that I have ever read. One of those deals where halfway through the book I put it down just long enough to text my friends about it. Specifically “This kid’s book is #@$%#$ disturbing!”  And when I described the book to them, the reaction was “That’s a kid’s book?!”  The Nest is one of those books that, truthfully, is disturbing regardless of the age it is written for.

Now, I will say that part of the reason the book bothered me as bad as it did was the circumstances of the plot in The Nest. The sick sibling is way too similar to the child that I lost for comfort. I could easily imagine my child, if she had been a tad bit older, falling into the trap that Steve did. The emotions that he felt, the fact that he subconsciously didn’t want to get too attached to the child and the desperate grab at a chance to save him are all very true feeling. The fact that The Nest is a horror-fantasy doesn’t really matter.

The dialogue is good. The plot moves forward at a brisk pace. The tension ratchets up, and the climax will have you almost holding your breath. The author does a great job, too, of conveying the stress that the parents are under though they don’t have a lot of page time. Kids are very observant, and that rings true in this book too.  Oppel’s wasps and Mr. Nobody are memorable characters in their own right.

The Nest is a well-written book that an adult can fly through and a middle-grader could manage easily enough. At 256 pages it took me about about 2 hours to finish. Kenneth Oppel takes the familiar ‘changeling’ tale and makes something unique and horrifying from it. The Nest is one of those books that will burrow its way into your mind and swarm your psyche when you’re trying to sleep.  It is not a book I would let my child read until she’s at least 3 or 4 years older.

8 thoughts on “The Nest Review (Kids Horror)

  1. Yes! A thousand times yes! I love this book as much as I am unsettled by it. Masterfully crafted.

    It won the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, which is basically Canada’s Newbery. Sooooo well deserved.

      1. Several years ago I read the first few books in the Silverwing series. Fantasy/hero’s quest with a bat as the main character. Well done. Great mythos in the bat society.

        A newer one, The Boundless, is about a boy traveling on a huge transcontinental train and features Bigfoot, a creepy circus, and more.

        Airborne is a pirate-y kind of story on an airship and with fantastic creatures.

        This Dark Endeavor is an excellent prequel to Frankenstein. Viktor is a teen getting drawn into experiments to save his twin brother. Which reminds me I need to read the sequel….

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