L. D. Lapinski: Stepfather Christmas (Orion Children’s Books 2023)
Harper and her brother Will got used to their living room turning into a winter wonderland when Christmas approaches, as it is their mother’s favorite holiday. But this year they will also have a surprise: they will meet their mother’s boyfriend, Nick. Harper immediately realizes that he is Father Christmas. The others say it’s impossible, but then why are there holiday ‘miracles’ appearing around Nick? Harper is determined to find out what the truth is. Not that it would be a problem if Nick were Santa Claus, but the girl doesn’t want her mother to be hurt.
The 25 chapters of the book can be read as an Advent calendar: one chapter every day, but I was too curious and read it all at once. I really liked it. It was light and yet touched serious questions. In my opinion, the most important lesson of the story is acceptance. How can we make room in our hearts for a new person, a new family member. What is easier to accept, that her mother’s boyfriend is Santa Claus himself, or that he is a normal person who can even make mistakes?
L. D. Lapinski lives by the forest in Sherwood with their family, lots of books and a cat. They have been writing stories since they were 7 years old, Strangeworlds Travel Agency was their first book series. Since then, they have also published a youth novel on the LGBTQIA+ theme, but this is my favorite book of theirs so far! I think I will read it next Christmas! By the way, the author will publish the first volume of a new middle grade series (Artezans) and a sci-fi novel for adults (Autumn and Abigail) next year.