Title: Christmas Presence
Author: Tony Bertauski
Publication Date: October 31, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Holiday
Length: 25 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author
Rating: 3 Stars
Worst Christmas ever.
Christmas was about traditions. Currently, Zay and her mom had about five traditions, things like gingerbread cookies and tree decorating. Not going to work.
Zay has to stay home. On Christmas. Alone.
Mom said her boss felt real bad about the whole thing so he was sending a nanny. It just keeps getting worse. She’s fourteen years old. She doesn’t need a nanny. But then the nanny shows up. She’s not really a she. Or a he.
More of an it.
The nanny shows her that it’s not really magic that makes Christmas special. It’s the adventure. And when it’s all over, she’ll never forget.
The best Christmas ever.
Teenagers don’t believe in magic, right?
Fourteen is a tough age. Zay was too old to truly get into many of the Christmas traditions she enjoyed as a little kid, but she was also a bit too young to understand why some adults get so excited to keep them going. Mr. Bertauski did a wonderful job of capturing this confusing stage of life and how it can affect not only the teenagers going through it but also everyone around them as well. I had compassion for Zay as she decided how to respond to her mother’s love of the Christmas holidays.
This short story was marketed as an introduction to a new series about retelling of classic holiday legends. Even though it was the first instalment of this series so far as I could tell, I still struggled to understand what was going on at times. There was never quite enough information about the nanny who showed up to entertain Zay or why he was so different from what she was expecting. While I did understand some parts of this universe, other portions were never quite clear to me. I would have happily gone with a much higher rating if these things had either been explained in greater detail or if the blurb had been clear that this wasn’t necessarily something that was supposed to be a standalone read.
I was a huge fan of the author’s reinterpretation of Santa Claus as an individual as well as a mythical figure. This was where the science fiction elements of the storyline shone the brightest. They made me perk up and wonder how everything worked, especially once Santa began to reveal a little bit more about himself. There was so much creativity in these passages. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for what the author comes up with next based on how much effort he put into rethinking this classic character.
Christmas Presence was a lighthearted read that I’d recommend to anyone who is either currently a teenager or who has a teenaged loved one in their life.