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.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
|Age Range:||13 Years|
About the Author
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the Unearthly trilogy, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, and My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an MFA and a PhD in fiction writing (although please don’t refer to her as “Dr. Hand,” as that’s the name of a cartoon super villain). She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, who loves typewriters as much as she does, two cats, two kids, one crazy dog, and a mountain of books.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book! This story is a unique twist on A Christmas Carol. A company called Project Scrooge plans out a night of ghosts for a new Scrooge every Christmas Eve. They spend the whole year studying the Scrooge so they can provide the most effective memories for that night. However, this year is different because Holly, a former failed Scrooge, falls for their current Scrooge, Evan Winters III. Though this book is centred around Christmas, it does not have to be read during Christmas. I read it at Christmas because I thought it was meant to be a holiday story, but it could be read any time of year. Most of the story takes place in the year leading up to December 25th, so it could be read at any time. I was completely surprised at the ending. I never could have guessed what happened. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed this book. I’ll be recommending it all year!
After failing to recover her ways, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase has died and now taken on the role as the Ghost of Christmas Past. She works in the very same centenary supernatural company that had tried to save her, which is in charge of trying to change the life of a Scrooge per year. After five years on the job, this year's Scrooge touches her in a way no other ever did and things start getting too personal putting the whole project at risk. I had previously read The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand and, while I wasn't that fond of the book I really wanted to read more by her. Well, this was an interesting experience. I took long to decide whether this deserved to be rounded up to 4 as it isn't a simple 3 but then I noticed my indecision was proof enough it only deserves 3 stars. So let's call this a 3+, okay? The story is lots of fun and I really liked how she built the whole Project Scrooge idea. There were a lot of details that even feels a little like a waste for a standalone. I loved how there are actual people working there and not only the deceased. And searching for all the connections with A Christmas Carol felt a little like a detective book. They need to find a representation of each of the characters from Dickens's novel in people surrounding their current Scrooge. The idea was quite exciting, especially as they discussed possibilities for each of them. On the other hand, the book had some strange flaws for an experienced writer. Some scenes seriously deserve a rewrite if not a total cut and to make things worst, one them is exactly the beginning. Holly tells the story of her own Christmas intervention by the spirits from Project Scrooge so quickly it felt like I was in fact reading a summary and was left a bit dizzy from so much information I had no idea if they were useless or not. For a beginning, that is sure to give a terrible first impression. Unfortunately, Hand repeats this mistake some other times, though I might have not felt bothered hadn't it been for the beginning. I understand the book wasn't exactly short and all the information was indeed given, but there are more subtle ways to accomplish the same. Holly was a nice character in the present. I liked her. And for this very reason, I didn't buy much her past as a Mean Girl. There were five years, yes. There was a number of pranks of her intern, yes. But I still couldn't feel the transition, as I think that was essential to the plot. The only way she really showed it was the voice of her late stepmother, which was if not enough just some comical relief. At the same time, I liked how she wasn't some irritating teenager. Actually, if you think well and sum 17+5, she wasn't a teenager anymore. Cynthia Hand got the right way to portray this twenty-two seventeen-year-old. And her romantic pair Ethan... he was weird most of the times. I do think it was on purpose but it was hard to understand how he could make Holly feel so attracted. I did get that she'd break rules to get to know him, but not that she'd be actually in love. The more she got to know him, the less I liked the guy. Hand could have developed a little more his redemption, in my opinion. At last, the ending of course. I liked the idea but I didn't like the execution. I finished the book with a lot of questions pertaining details of how we went from A to B. But I liked B—the conclusion. It was a good way to solve the problems and it wasn't surprising, since the author hints that along th
The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a retelling of A Christmas Story, with the Scrooge, in this case Holly Case, not learning from the dream and continuing her Scrooge-y ways. Now, I haven't read the original book, so I was mostly flying blind with respect to the references, but I am not a big believer in Christmas spirit or whatever, so my main interest in the book was the 'afterlife' part. Holly wakes up on Christmas morning but doesn't try to change her ways, so she dies and gets saddled with her version of hell - to be the Ghost of Christmas Past for Scrooges every year henceforth. She works as an indentured spirit in this super-secret company that is part modern-tech, part magic and does this every year, in order to change the world, one person at a time. Holly is an unlikable character from the start - she doesn't believe in the company motto, and is carrying out her duties because the alternative will be much worse. In short, she resents her afterlife, until this year's Scrooge is announced - Ethan Winters, who is this super hot, super rich jerk (hey, you gotta tell it like it is) and gets interested in him. Despite knowing she has no future with him (hello, technically deceased?) she approaches him IRL (which is an unwritten no-no of the company) and starts to know him. Meanwhile, she is also dodging her new intern, Stephanie, who is this cheerful bubbly college kid who would have been better at her job, but then she starts to become friends with her, too. It is not meant to be doom-and-gloom, or preachy, and has a light, sometimes comic and cheerful atmosphere to it. The ending, surprising though it may be, also left me very confused as to what actually happened. The world-building of the novel, which until that point had made a weird sense, suddenly fell apart with that ending, and had me questioning the why of things I had accepted during the course of the novel. Nevertheless, it is a good Christmas-themed novel, if you are into that. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harper Teen, via Edelweiss.