Thursday, December 22, 2022

Today's read... The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

I stumbled across today's read while skimming through...

Ready for this?

The library! Yes, I am a library fan. And now, that our small town's system has joined hands with the big digital world of Libby, I'm over the moon. *coughcough* Except for the fact that my reading schedule may be a bit full, anyway. How some women buy shoes, I'm into books. What can I say?

Anyway, this read came out in 2018 (?) and is a retelling of the Christmas Carol by Dickens...a modern, very teeny twist. And I'll just say now that it is perfect for a Holiday read.

by Cynthia Hand
YA Paranormal /  Holiday
400 pages

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.

She didn't.

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. . .

(Oh, and you can buy this one about anywhere, of course, but since I picked this one up at the library, I'm going to be full thrust on 'support your local library')


I'm late to the game on reading this one, but I'm so glad I happened across it. This is a very unique twist on the ever-so-loved Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and it does an amazing job at shoving the always needed message of loving others into a modern day, somewhat quirky setting. Plus, it packs imagination in the most delightful way.

Holly Chase is the perfect 'mean' girl, who has too much money and an ego to match. When her deceased step-mother appears in her bedroom at midnight on Christmas Eve, claiming three ghosts will be visiting to help Holly change her ways, Holly refuses to believe a word...which means she fails, soon dies, and lands in the afterlife with the craziest job imaginable. She, Holly Chase, is now the Ghost of Christmas Past, and it's her job to help rescue the soul of that year's Scrooge.

This read not only reminds of the traditional tale about Scrooge but adds a mix of humor, paranormal mysteries, scifi-worthy technology, romance and tons of heart. Holly Chase comes across in the perfect, privileged teen manner but not unlikable. When the reader really meets her, she's actually sunk into her new position and teeters between enjoying it and complaints. She's not perfect by any means but holds tons of hidden heart, and that's what makes her so fun to join. The cast around her holds a nice variety of personalities, which poke slightly toward different extremes with quirks all of their own. It adds the humorous, and at times more serious, back and forth to make it an easy read.

There is romance, and Holly's actions, although bold, also make sense with who she is and her past. The guy is hard to warm up to, at first, which is exactly the way he should be, considering the situation, and yet, he warms on the reader quick. But even this end holds surprises and originality, which left me with a sad-sweet sigh at the end.

The read is light and quick and easy, and it seems to flow with a bit of superficial candy with a bit of bitter zest to keep it from growing too sweet. And yet, this read does hold a deeper message and leaves those thought-gears churning after it's been put down. It manages to hold the same poke to the heart and leaves with magical Christmas warmth. As said, I'm glad I stumbled across this one.

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