Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Title: The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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. . . .
Review by Nara

The Afterlife of Holly Chase is quite a short but entertaining read, much like the novel on which it is based (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens). Main character Holly was warned before her death about how selfish she had become, but did not change her ways. We follow her after her death in her role as the Ghost of Christmas Past, making up for what she never did while she was alive. But things are different this year, and perhaps she deserves a second chance after all.

Holly is an unlikeable character on the surface- materialistic and selfish. Which, of course, is how she's supposed to be seen. But as the novel progresses, you see what has happened to shape her like this, and while I don't think she ever becomes someone you'd want to be best friends with, you do come to find her more sympathetic.

While a short book, there is a lot to like about The Afterlife, and many of the side characters play a large role in the story. It's much more of a character driven novel, with the plot being relatively linear, and the main force driving the story being Holly's growth.

It's a bit difficult to comment on this novel without giving too much away, so I think I'll stop here with this review. To be honest, "modern YA retelling of A Christmas Carol" should grab many people, and the fact that it's an excellently written novel should hopefully grab a few more.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5