Friday, November 20, 2015

The Nest - Kenneth Oppel

Ten days after Steve's new baby brother is brought home "angels" appear to Steve in a dream and offer to help the baby.  There is something wrong with the baby, but nobody can figure out what it is.  On a Sunday as his parents and his sister Nicole are outside enjoying the day.   Wasps circle around the drinks they have, and one stings Steve.  His dad takes him to the hospital and Steve had a mild to moderate allergic reaction to the sting.  He's prescribed EpiPens and the doctor recommends desensitization shots so he doesn't have to rely on the EpiPens.  That night he dreams of a cave-like area where the "angels" come to him again.  The "angels" say they can fix the mistake in the DNA of the baby.  They say it will be fixed soon, and then Steve wakes up.  It takes him three days to tell his mom about the dreams.  She says he has the most interesting dreams.  While Vanessa, their babysitter, is watching them she spies a wasp on the table biting the wood.  Steve and Vanessa follow the wasp back to the nest which is on the outside of the house above the baby's room.  At dinner Steve tells his parents about the wasp nest and his dad says he'll call someone out to take care of it.  After dinner he and his dad talk about the baby.  His dad tells him the baby has a very rare disease affecting the baby's DNA, and the baby could be low-functioning later in life.  After he falls asleep he dreams of the "angels" again.  They tell him his baby brother will be good as new with no defects.  The next night while his parents are out with the baby at a specialist and Vanessa had taken Nicole to a friends house someone comes and pounds on the door.  This frightens Steve and he tries to see if his neighbor sees/hears anything.  His neighbor is running the lawn mower so they are no help.  Once the person leaves Steve finds a sickle left on the front doorstep.  After his parents come back home and he tells them what happened.  They contemplate calling the cops, but decide not to.  His dad puts the sickle away in a safe place.  Later that night he dreams of the "angels" again and he tells them the baby need a heart operation, and that should make everything right.  The "angels" tell him that they are working on replacing the baby.  Steve doesn't understand, the baby is in his crib.  The "angles" tell him they are replacing him all together, and he is growing in the nest outside of his house.  The next night he dreams about the wasps and the queen shows him the larva that will become is new baby brother.  The next day Steve decides to take care of the nest on his own.  He grabs a ladder and climbs up with a broom.  He takes a swipe at it and the wasps come out.  They gather on the broom and land on him.  He drops the broom and climbs down the ladder slowly as not to agitate the wasps.  When he gets to the bottom all the wasps are back in the nest.  His parents are furious when they get home.  A neighbor called them because they had seen Steve on the ladder.  He then tells them about his dreams, and they suggest he talk to Dr. Brown about all of this. Steve goes the next day and talks to Dr. Brown.  He talks to him about how the summer has been and the dreams of the wasps he's been having.  They have a good session and Steve agrees to come back in a few weeks.  Three days go by with out the wasp dreams.  After he goes to bed on the fourth night he dreams of the wasps again.  He is in the nest where the new baby is out of the larva stage and is pupating. He and the queen argue about which one is the real baby.  She then tells him the wasps will take care of the sick baby once this one is done pupating.  All Steve has to do is say yes.  Yes will make everything right, and Steve's baby brother will be healthy.  Steve eventually says yes, but when he wakes up he regrets it.  What will happen to Steve now he's said yes to helping the wasps?

I enjoyed this book and it felt like a horror movie while I was reading it.  This book reminded me of the horror movie The Unborn, which came out in 2009.  In it Casey is having dreams of a boy.   The boy turns out to be the spirit of her twin brother who died in the womb.  The ghost is trying to use Casey to be born into the world.  This is similar to the wasps using the nest to make a new baby to replace the sick one.  


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