by Kenneth Oppel
Expected publication: October 6th 2015
by Simon & Schuster
Goodreads | Amazon
Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? This is a haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, from acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel (Silverwing, The Boundless) with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.I had a weird reaction to this book. Written for kids, but so scary I barely got through it!
For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.
All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?
Celebrated 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. Includes illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen.
This story revolves around Steve's family. Their new born baby is sick and constantly having to visit the doctor for testing. His parents are tired, scared and depressed. This is all pretty normal for the middle child, Nicole who seems to just go with the flow. One day an unusual wasp family begins to build a nest on their house and stings Steve. The wasps are a silver-ish color and seem to be an unknown species. When one stings Steve and he finds out that he is allergic. It is from that moment on he becomes obsessed with the wasps and begins dreaming about them. Steve already has obsessions, he's a worrier, ocd and suffers from nightmares of a shadow man in his room.
On top of his current worries and anxiety he now begins to have dreams of the wasps. The queen begins to come to him in his sleep and tell him they are there to help the baby. There is an ominous feeling that hangs over the whole story. It is as if the words are telling you the story is one of angels, coming to save the family from further strife. Yet the storyline continues to become darker and darker. There were several times throughout the story that I had to put the book down. I kept thinking I had wasps crawling on my skin and Steve's worries and anxiety caused me some anxiety and I had trouble turning the pages.
Partly I thought there was no way I would recommend this to kids because it's scary stuff. On the other I think it's brilliant because of the writing and slow way that you are pulled through this story as the tension builds. It definitely has an ending that does not disappoint and had one of the scariest scenes I have ever read. It is nightmare heaven, especially to those that have a fear of wasps.
The only thing I could say is read at your own risk. The first half of the book is mostly story building, if you stick with it until the end....well, I hope you read it with the lights on!