Bookmas! with Kat Kruger

Book­mas: so close!

Today’s not-so-secret Book­San­ta: Kat Kruger!

Kat Kruger is a free­lance writer and social media con­sul­tant with a degree in pub­lic rela­tions from Mount Saint Vin­cent Uni­ver­si­ty. Her first nov­el, The Night Has Teeth (The Magde­burg Tril­o­gy, Book One) won the 34th Atlantic Writ­ing Com­pe­ti­tion and was list­ed as a Best Book for Kids & Teens by the Cana­di­an Children’s Book Cen­tre (Spring 2013). She is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a new project code named #Steam­punkU­ni­corn­Pro­ject.

I should prob­a­bly pref­ace this list with a note that this is high­ly skewed toward Young Adult fic­tion.

For the adven­ture-seek­er: Air­born by Ken­neth Oppel. I’m a fan of The Appren­tice­ship of Vic­tor Franken­stein series and just start­ed read­ing some of his oth­er books. This is a fun adven­ture sto­ry that takes place in the clouds on an air­ship. It doesn’t hurt that the tenth anniver­sary edi­tion has a beau­ti­ful cov­er also. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, I’d rec­om­mend his books for a wide range of read­ing ages.

For the series fix: The Raven Boys by Mag­gie Stief­vater. She’s a love­ly word­smith and although she writes about the para­nor­mal, she does it in a way that allows the read­er to sus­pend dis­be­lief for hun­dreds of pages. I also love that her teen char­ac­ters are pre­sent­ed as authen­ti­cal­ly real peo­ple. If, god for­bid, peo­ple couldn’t find any of my books, I’d sug­gest check­ing out her were­wolf series, Shiv­er, for a sim­i­lar lit­er­ary fix.

For every­one: Oryx and Crake by Mar­garet Atwood. Set in a dystopi­an future, the book shows what life could be like if we let cor­po­ra­tions and con­sumerism run ram­pant. Maybe there’s a bit of irony in choos­ing this as a Christ­mas read since the sea­son has become so wrapped up in those things … but it’s a great read for grown-ups and old­er teens.

For con­tem­po­rary fan­ta­sy lovers: Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. This book inspired me to trav­el to the south of France because of all the gor­geous loca­tion details. It’s a sto­ry that’s set in present day but the past comes to life in an almost Whov­ian kind of way. Be pre­pared for a world where iPods meet Celtic tribes.

For tweens: I Am Malala (Young Read­ers Edi­tion) by Malala Yousafzai. I’d rec­om­mend this book because it’s an impor­tant sto­ry, but also because this edi­tion is meant for young read­ers. It shows how one per­son, no mat­ter the age, can inspire hope and change. Good for the social jus­tice seek­er in train­ing. It’s a title that can moti­vate tweens to do some­thing for their own com­mu­ni­ties.

For the “It Gets Bet­ter” crowd: Becom­ing Fierce: Teen Sto­ries IRL. It’s a col­lec­tion of short cre­ative non-fic­tion sto­ries. A lot of author friends con­tributed to the anthol­o­gy. It fea­tures a wide range of per­son­al teen expe­ri­ences from unre­quit­ed crush­es to body image issues to drug addic­tion. Par­tial pro­ceeds go to sup­port Kids Help Phone.

Non-lit­er­ary rec­om­men­da­tion: Ran­dom acts of kind­ness. In the mad rush to attend fes­tive events, pur­chase gifts, and all the oth­er stress­es of the hol­i­days I think some­times peo­ple for­get to take a deep breath. We should not only be thank­ful for what we have but remem­ber to pay it for­ward. So go buy the next per­son in line a cup of cof­fee, hold a door open, don’t freak out when some­one says “Hap­py Holidays/Merry Christ­mas”. That sort of kind­ness can go fur­ther than we think.