The Nest

Book review by Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Nest Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 10+

Poignant sick-sibling tale blurs lines of real and imagined.

Parents say

age 10+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 3 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 10+

Storm of words inside himself, narrator suffers in silence while his parents protect him

An 11-ish-year-old boy experiences the PTSD-like effects of a slow-motion family emergency. His parents have just had a new baby with some kind of birth defect. While his parents suffer days and weeks of questions without answers, emergency room visits, specialists, bills, etc., his younger sister seems oblivious to the trouble. The narrator doesn't have many friends and is too embarrassed to share his vivid and troubling dreams, thoughts, and self-talk (interior monologue, I suppose). Once or twice, the novel risks losing my suspension of disbelief. But the candor and emotional intensity of the narrator's self-talk really carries me through those times. I trust the narrator long before he trusts himself. I love his voice! Especially impressive by the author was what he holds back from the narrator. The narrator, for a long time, never says his brother's name. As scared as he ever is, he doesn't call for help. I am also impressed by what the narrator sees and tells of his parents and other adults - mistakes, neglect, love. Seeing and telling are balanced really well - which is a great way to help me not judge the characters. Some other more mature subject matter includes: - the narrator blackmailing his babysitter into lying to his parents; - the narrator's parents leaving him home alone with the sickly newborn for several hours; - his sneaking into his parents' office, snooping in drawers, and finding something dangerous. I don't find the cover, inside jacket, or opening chapter compelling at first, especially for younger readers. That may be a plus for deterring kids too young for some subject matter. I'll definitely share this with my oldest daughter.

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