The Afterlife of Holly Chase

400p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062318503.
Gr 8 Up—The classic tale of Scrooge in a YA romance package readers will love. The story follows Holly Chase, a beautiful, rich, and very mean-spirited 17-year-old girl. Holly is visited by the classic ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future but does not heed their warnings. After her untimely death a few days later, Holly is not completely dead: she is now the ghost of Christmas past. She works for a company called "Project Scrooge" that reenacts Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol each year to try and save a soul. When the new Scrooge for the year is revealed, Holly can't keep her eyes off of the handsome Ethan Winters. She must decide what is best for her, Ethan, and Project Scrooge. Taking on a classic is a tall order, but Hand does it well. The author adds many original quotes from the source material, a nice nod to Dickens that might inspire young readers to pick up his work. The romance between Holly and Ethan takes center stage through the middle of the story to set up for the twist ending that will keep readers guessing. A strong message that people can change, along with a call for kindness in humanity, rings throughout the narrative as well.
VERDICT A heartwarming holiday romance to get teens in the spirit of the season. A definite title to be shared where classic retellings, like Lost by Gregory Maguire or the original Dickens tale, are popular.

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