Merry Christmas Eve readers, and welcome back to another review post here on The Paperback Pilgrim.
As it is a Christmas Eve tradition at my in-laws house to watch Alastair Sim’s portrayal in the 1951 adaptation, I figured, as is tradition, what better way to show my somewhat muted festive side by reviewing a retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Did The Afterlife of Holly Chase finally get me in the holiday spirit? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen (October 24, 2017)
Print Length: 389 pages
Audiobook Length: 9 hrs 59 mins
Narrator: Erin Spencer
On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.
But this year, everything is about to change. . . .
Hand, as one third of the writing duo known in the YA world as ‘The Lady Janies’, has a truly unique gift of taking well known stories and making them new and fresh for the 21st century.
The Afterlife of Holly Chase follows the story of the titular character as she goes from being Scrooge, failing to change her ways, dying, and becoming part of Project Scrooge in order to ward off others from her fate.
Hand was able to both stay true to the spirit of A Christmas Carol while also adding her on mark on a Christmas classic. Besides the sarcasm and humour, the world building in The After life of Holly Chase was fantastic. Hand explored what would happen should a Scrooge not choose to change his/her ways in the form of Project Scrooge, a company that is charged with visiting another ‘Scrooge’ in need of a priority change. Employees range from those who have passed, those who are alive, and those who used to be Scrooges and didn’t learn from their own Christmas visit. When the reader is introduced to this secret world, Project Scrooge is about to embark on helping ‘Scrooge 173’, which made me aware that there was going to be twists and turns on a flawless system.
The characters that hand created were equally unique. Holly had her change to change her ways, but when she didn’t repent she died in a more gruesome than needed manner in order to take up the mantle of The Ghost of Christmas Past. Unfortunately Holly had many young adult tropes that made her kind of a stagnant character, I mean, until the twist at the end, which kind of made her hard to route for. On the other hand I really enjoyed the character of Boz. As the sort of CEO of Project Scrooge, his need to reference a Christmas Carol, including nicknaming his employees with Dickson’s names, was down right hysterical. However, one of the best choices Hand made with her characters was the way she wrote the friendship between Holly and Stephanie. First off I couldn’t help but picture Stephanie as Hannah Murray’s portrayal of Cassie from Skins. To be honest, it may have been all the ‘wows’ included in her way of speech, but I digress. At the beginning of the novel, Holly was not a people person, but after several chapters she begins to warm to the oddball Stephanie which in the end results in a beautiful, ugly cry inducing friendship that I didn’t want to stop reading about.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.