January 4, 2018
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Discussion Points and more



Dear Readers, 
In January's KidsBookClubbing, meet  a Norse teen and her family who are forced to flee to the American West to escape the effects of an ancestral Viking curse in a jaw-dropping historical paranormal romance from Emmy Laybourne, the author of The Monument 14 Trilogy.

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

 Ages 13-18 / Young Adult Fantasy / Macmillan

Win a copy of BERSERKER, the latest novel by Emmy Laybourne, author of The Monument 14 trilogy. Enter to win by emailing the author (Please write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line).
Dear Reader,

My new book BERSERKER is one heck of a mash-up -- cowboys and Vikings!
BERSERKER is a fantasy set in the1880s American frontier about Norse teens with ancient Viking superpowers.

Now, how exactly did this combination come about?

I wanted to write in this time period because I'm a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. As I was brainstorming, I got to
Photo: Kit Laybourne
thinking about all the Norwegians and Swedes pouring into the mid-west during that time. I asked myself: what kinds of myths and legends did they bring with them? Then it hit me: Vikings. They were the descendants of the Vikings.

I started to wonder: what if the reason the Vikings were victorious was that they had an edge... a supernatural edge. That's the genesis of the magic at work in BERSERKER.

If you like the lavish world-building of fantasies by authors like Leigh Bardugo and Maggie Stiefvater, pick BERSERKER up. You'll find a richly-detailed, pulse-pounding story about good kids trying to protect each other in a wild, dangerous world.

I hope you read my "Little Viking Warrior on the Prairie" and love it as much as I do!


Book reviews:

"Rich in description and compulsively readable."
- Booklist

" A completely winning, romantic, and heart-wrenching historical fantasy. Your pulse will race from page one of this rich, rugged adventure of a book."
- Alyson Noël, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals series

"Smoking hot hero + spine-chilling mystery = total win."
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

"Laybourne has blended the fantasy of Norse gods with the American West with ease to create a coming-of-age ­story that is full of intrigue, adventure, budding romance, and self-discovery. "
- School Library Journal

"[Hanne's] internal struggle with her brutal nature as a berserker is intensely real and will resonate with readers who feel beset by forces outside of their control. A bloody and fast-paced genre mash-up."
- Publishers Weekly

"The real strength of Emmy Laybourne's writing is that, for all their superhuman abilities, her characters are so very human."
- William Ritter, author of the New York Times bestselling Jackaby series

Food pairings from the author:

"What did the N orwegian teens in my new book BERSERKER bring to America -- besides their ancient Viking superpower s? Why, the customs and food of their homeland Norway, of course!  My favorite Norwegian food is lefse - soft, flat bread made from potatoes. Hanne makes this bread for her family in the second chapter of BERSERKER. I n North Dakota, my relatives make this all the time for important celebrations. They spread it with salted butter and roll it up -- yum! Here's a link to a  great lefse recipe .

"And here's a recipe for good old American egg nog from the Little House on the Prairie Museum.  I've made this with my kids and we give it six stars -- out of five! Truly delicious. Owen Bennett, the handsome cowboy who helps Hanne and her siblings in BERSERKER would have been served egg nog as a child, when fighting off a winter cold. Give it a shot yourself and see if it helps! A nip of rum won't hurt, either." 
- Emmy Laybourne
Discussion questions:

1.     Hanne has no choice: when someone she loves is in danger, she kills without the ability to stop and think. Have you ever felt so angry that you felt like your actions were out of your control?

2.     What do you think would be the most difficult part of daily life in Montana in the 1880s? What would be the most fun?

3.     You discover that the Nytte is in your family bloodlines. Which power do you hope you will get? Berserker, Shipwright, Oar-Breaker, Storm-Rend -- or maybe the two other gifts just hinted at in the book: Ransacker, able to find hidden treasures; or Shield-Skinned, impervious to injury.

4.     Hanne is a strong and fierce warrior at a time when women were widely believed to be weak and defenseless. How has public opinion about women being strong and powerful changed since olden days? Do you feel it's changed enough?

5.     Owen has been raised in a family where he was made to feel an outsider. Have you ever been made to feel this way? What's the best way to help people who are stuck feeling like they don't belong?
Read the first five chapters of BERSERKER.  For Emmy's monthly newsletter for contests, writing tips and life hacks, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @EmmyLaybourne.

Author call-in information: Emmy Laybourne is available for phone or Skype calls with your club and author visits. Email the author's booking contact to submit your request.

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