Book Review | The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
Genres: YA, Paranormal/Fantasy, Retellings
Published by: HarperTeen (Oct. 24, 2017)
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. . . .
What I Thought
I picked this book up at the library, on a whim, because it was a new Christmas release. I had heard mixed things about The Afterlife of Holly Chase, and so I was not really expecting much out of it, except a predictable and fun Christmas story. Well, this book totally exceeded all of my expectations!
I really adored everything about this novel. Going into this story, I didn’t have high expectations, and I didn’t know what to expect. It’s a retelling of A Christmas Carol, but it’s so much more than that.
The characters were my favorite thing about this book, and I truly think they made this story. Holly, who is now the Ghost of Christmas Past, is just as bitter and selfish as she was when she was alive. She’s so unlikable, and yet, at the same time, you can’t help but love her and root for her, if that even makes sense. Then there are Holly’s coworkers. From Dave, to Stephanie, to Boz, to everyone else, I really loved them all. It was also a nice touch that everyone in the company had work name related to Charles Dickens’ characters. I found the whole concept of their business of saving Scrooges to just be really well done. Then there’s Ethan, who is this year’s Scrooge. Learning about his past and who he is and what brought him to his Scrooge-iness, just really drew me in.
Another thing I loved about The Afterlife of Holly Chase was that it didn’t take itself to seriously. I loved that this novel doesn’t take itself too seriously. I especially loved that even though it was silly and lighthearted, it was still actually really meaningful. This book has a lot of heart. It also leaves a powerful reminder of how one small action can change so much.
Then there was the ending! I loved the ending! I had my guesses about where this story would go, but how it really ended was better than I expected. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really appreciated that it didn’t have a typical ending for a YA novel, which I found refreshing. It made me smile while also making me just a little emotional.
Overall, I really loved this book. It exceeded my expectations, and it was just such an enjoyable, Christmas-y read. I definitely think fans of A Christmas Carol will appreciate this retelling. I would also recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun and heartwarming Christmas story!
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