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Snatching St. Nick
Myla Taylor, author

Middle Grade; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Publish)

Ten-year-old Cooper is always at the top of Santa’s Naughty List. His archrival bets there’s NO WAY Cooper will get the super-hot Christmas toy only given to those on Santa’s Nice List. (Yes, Santa Claus is real!) The loser has to transfer to the dreaded Dunsley Military Academy. When trying to be good absolutely fails, there’s only one thing Cooper can do to win the bet: travel to the North Pole, kidnap Santa, and hold him for ransom. Of course, nothing goes as planned! In this wild Christmas adventure, is it possible for Cooper to win the bet and still avoid getting a bazillion more years on the Naughty List?
Ten-year-old Cooper Bartholomew Finister is determined to get on the Nice List this year. He may be Miami’s worst behaved ten year old, but if he wants to get a Zop’Em 3000—this year’s hottest toy—and win the bet against his arch nemesis Dax, he’ll have to think outside of the box and resort to some desperate measures. He doesn’t just operate alone, though: Cooper’s got a best friend, Peony, and an elf accomplice, and along the way he’ll encounter an elf enemy and two unqualified criminals. Equal parts funny, action-packed, and heartwarming, Snatching St. Nick is a fast-paced, rollicking holiday adventure.

One thing that’s abundantly clear at the start is that Cooper is not the average ten-year-old. He attends a private elementary school, has a nanny, easily fakes being his father so that he can charter a private jet to the North Pole, and makes declarations like “Cravat is French for goofball handkerchief tie. That’s what my pool cleaner says.” Cooper might not be relatable, but his wit is sharp, his cunning is boundless, and his extravagant life is certainly compelling. At one point, he demonstrates a mature understanding of beer and drunkenness, telling a server to cut off an elf who’s already had too many, a moment that might raise questions.

Precocious and mischievous as he may be, Cooper is still a likeable character who shows genuine growth throughout and ultimately, in an ending that offers appropriate holiday warmth, connects with the adults in his life. Meeting Taylor’s singular version of Santa—a fit, flannel wearing, happy go lucky guy—is a joy in and of itself. Snatching St. Nick is sure to delight readers young and old, and hopefully caution them against making the same mistakes Cooper does at the start, prizing the Nice List only as a path to gifts.

Takeaway: Troublemakers and goody two-shoes alike will enjoy this delightful Christmas adventure.

Great for fans of: Caleb Huett’s Top Efl, Michael Fry and Bradley Jackson’s The Naughty List.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A


"My daughter read the book and found it to be very entertaining; she loved the story and she could not put the book down until she finished reading it."

Kirkus Reviews

An amusing Christmas-themed story about a son, his father, and a holiday that might help them reconnect. ... its appealing elements include Cooper's loyal best friend, Peony; a revealing confession from his father; and flashes of humor, some from a fit and cleanshaven Santa. This novel might not suit upper middle graders who prefer darker or more complex tales, but its whimsy could entertain younger ones who enjoy stories about elves, reindeer, and Santa's workshop. - Kirkus Reviews

"Snatching St. Nick" is a very entertaining book and an eccentric story that brought page after page of laughter to my body! epic book full of adventure, mischief, cunning and... KIDNAPPING!?!?!? I loved this book for its sense of humor and adventure, and I think anyone who doesn't like it has lost all hope!  -- Grady Darrell (8 years old), Reviewer for