Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Holiday Retellings
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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. . . .
I didn’t realize how loved this book was until I saw how many people were talking about it this year.
The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a fun reimagining of A Christmas Carol that’s perfect for the holiday season! That being said, if you’re not fun of A Christmas Carol OR traditional YA tropes, you probably won’t enjoy this one. Also if you’re going into this one hoping you’ll see Holly’s Scrooge story, complete with ghosts and lessons and stuff, I’m here to burst your bubble. We do see a bit of her night, but not much. That being said, I don’t think it was needed for the story.
“Because I’m like the opposite of Cinderella. My ball only starts after midnight.”
Holly Chase: Wow, talk about an unlikeable main character. Okay, so the point of this book is that a Scrooge didn’t learn her lesson, God did not bless us (everyone), and her punishment is to be the Ghost of Christmas Past for other Scrooges. Because of this, establishing Holly as unlikeable was an incredibly important part. It doesn’t stop her from being a character I found myself rolling my eyes at several times, but for this story it kind of worked.
“Without stories, we’re all just lonely islands.”
So, my biggest complaint with this book was that the plot DRAGGED in the middle. I think this book could have been 50-100 pages shorter and not much would have been lost.
Also, several cliché tropes were used, including my least favorite…like ever, but other tropes actually worked really well.
Once the plot gets going, it actually is pretty cute. Holly finds the newest Scrooge selection hot and breaks all the rules for this year’s project to get to know him more. That’s basically the plot, but I liked it. It was the cheesiness that could work for a rom com or Hallmark movie this time of the year.
As for the ending. I’m not gonna lie, I totally saw it coming and called it around the halfway mark.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS, FYI
One thing that took my out of the story a bit was at the end, Holly changes her ways. My only problem with this is my obsession with butterfly effects. Because of this, I had some lingering wonder about what became of certain characters after Holly’s actions.
“My fortune read, It’s never too late to become what one could have been.”
As fun holiday retellings go, this was a really fun read. I absolutely love A Christmas Carol and I loved all the nods to the original story, especially those at Project Scrooge identifying the characters in the person’s life that mirror the og Scrooge (Marley, Isabell, etc.).
I can totally see why so many people love this book and it’s one I thoroughly enjoyed as well!
If you’re looking for a fun book to read this holiday season, this is one you should definitely check out!