I just finished reading two books called The Nest and they couldn’t be more different. The first by Cynthia D’ Aprix Sweeney is a cautionary tale for adults about self-sufficiency and the folly of counting your eggs before they are hatched. Three siblings must decide what to do when their oldest brother makes a horrible mistake that jeopardizes the inheritance they were to receive in their middle age from their parents. They’ve all rather foolishly planned their futures around that money. The siblings aren’t living what I thought were very meaningful or productive lives and their relationships weren’t healthy. They whined and felt sorry for themselves. These Americans with their sense of entitlement helped me understand why so many of their countrymen and women feel left out of the American dream and resent those who have inherited access to it. I found it very difficult to like the characters in Sweeney’s The Nest.
On the other hand I really liked the young boy Steve at the heart of The Nest by Kenneth Oppel. Oppel is a children’s author. I’ve read his book Silver Wing aloud to many classes of elementary school students. The main character in Silver Wing is a bat. The natural world plays a role in The Nest as well. Wasps are the antagonists. Steve is the protagonist who must save a new baby brother suffering from all kinds of medical issues. Steve has problems of his own to battle before he can come to the rescue. While I liked this book I found it to be pretty dark and scary and I am not sure I would recommend it for anyone under twelve. I admit my patriotic bias in my evaluation of this book because Kenneth Oppel is a popular Canadian author and The Nest is illustrated by Jon Klassen an equally popular Canadian in his field.