Featured Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
About This Book:
Before I Fall meets “bah, humbug” in this contemporary YA reimagining of A Christmas Carol from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand. On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died. Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything… The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a witty, poignant, and insightful novel about life, love, and seizing second (or third) chances, perfect for readers who loved Before I Fall or Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.
*Review Contributed By Kim Baccellia, Staff Reviewer*
The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. They warned her to change her ways or else. Well, Holly didn't believe them and died. Now she's been the ghost of Christmas Present. She's not quite dead but not alive either. Life is set on auto pilot until she finds out who's the latest 'Scrooge'. Holly feels drawn to him, but knows nothing can come of any kind of relationship. Still she feels she needs to warn him so he doesn't suffer her same fate.
What worked: Think Groundhog's Day meets a modern day Christmas Carol. Only in this case the former 'Scrooge' Is a rich girl who failed when the ghosts appeared to her and now has to play the part of the ghost of Christmas Present. At the beginning, Holly isn't too likable and goes through the motions of her so-called afterlife job. She reminded me of a Mean Girl stuck in limbo. That changes when she first sees that year's 'Scrooge', Ethan. He's also seventeen and his actions are very similar to hers before she died. I really liked the interactions between the two of them though I wondered how she could do this as she was not really alive?
I also liked seeing the behind scenes of the heavenly company that chooses one Scrooge each year. There's humor, technology, and even sparks of office romance.
Readers see Ethan though Holly's eyes. Maybe because he's so similar to her, she overlooks his flaws and doesn't see why he was chosen to be 'Scrooge'. There are some hints on why there is a similarity between the two of them. I wasn't really surprised at the ending reveal. Still I was totally engaged in this fun retelling.
Fast paced fun twist on A CHRISTMAS CAROL with a heroine who looks beyond herself in order to help someone else. A fun holiday read for those who love retellings of classics.