Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Cynthia Hand
Holly Chase is dead. Sort of. When she was alive, she cared about image and money above all else. On Christmas Eve, she was visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, just like in A Christmas Carol. But unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, she didn’t do anything to change her life, and she died the next morning. Instead of transitioning to an afterlife, Holly was recruited by Project Scrooge, an organization that selects modern-day Scrooges each year and shows them the error of their ways. Holly took on the role of Ghost of Christmas Past. After five years on the job, she knows that the chosen Scrooge is usually cranky and elderly. But the new Scrooge is completely different: seventeen years old and very attractive. The more Holly learns about the new Scrooge, the harder it is to avoid getting emotionally involved. She’s sure she can get him to change, but she might have to bend the rules a little bit to do it.
In The Afterlife of Holly Chase, the author takes the basic premise of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and expands on it, adding modern applications while paying proper homage to the original. Throughout the book, characters explain the relevant details of A Christmas Carol, so it is not necessary to read the Dickens book beforehand. The story ends around Christmas, but it really unfolds over an entire year, so the book would be appropriate to read at any time. Though the book does have romance, it is still accessible to a wide audience. Holly and Ethan do share a romantic relationship, but none of the material is sexually explicit, and there is no profanity used. However, the content does still seem to be directed toward young adults in tone and subject matter. In adolescence, there is a tendency for people to become more self-serving, materialistic, and image-focused. But The Afterlife of Holly Chase will challenge that budding mindset and show the value of looking outward and seeking genuine connection.