From the Backlist: The Nest

The Nest, Kenneth Oppel (2015)

It’s late Summer now, and in my part of the world that means it’s yellowjacket season. It’s almost impossible to enjoy a meal or drink outside without having to deal with an onslaught of these predatory wasps, dead-set on enjoying your food and ruining your fun. A recent run-in with a particularly aggressive wasp made me think of The Nest, a fantastically creepy, middle grade horror novel written by Toronto-based writer Kenneth Oppel.

We discover early on that our young protagonist, Steve, has had a difficult time managing an anxiety disorder. When his baby brother is born with serious complications that leave the infant fighting for his life, and their parents fighting to hold things together, even a beautiful Summer takes on a decidedly anxious feel. Shortly after seeing a beautiful but strange wasp in his back yard, Steve starts to have visits in his dreams by a strange queen offering to ‘fix’ his brother. All he has to do is say ‘yes’. But what’s the catch? And what exactly would he be saying ‘yes’ to?

I found this the best kind of horror. It is atmospheric and eerie, with a lovable but troubled hero, doing his best to sort of fact from fiction and fantasy from reality.

I think about this book surprisingly often and bet it will leave you haunted too, in all of the best ways.

Read this if you’re interested in:

  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Psychological Horror
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Paranormal


“Yes’ is a very powerful word. It’s like opening a door. It’s like fanning a flame. It’s the most powerful word in the world.”

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