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.