December book staple: Spend winter break with this retelling of a holiday classic

Disclaimer: The following review may contain some spoilers revolving around the plot and background. The review is simply my own opinion, you may disagree.

This year, I will be reviewing books based around their genres. This month’s genre is Christmas.

In these reviews, I will rate the books on a starring system using an appropriate symbol: bookmarks.

5/5 Bookmarks: This book will land in my all-time favorite book list and you should stop what you are doing and read it, no matter what.

4/5 Bookmarks: You should try to read it at some point in your free time.

3/5 Bookmarks: If you are bored or going on a long trip, it might be fun to read.

2/5 Bookmarks: I would not really bother unless you enjoy the author.

1/5 Bookmarks: The book would make a better coaster for your Coke than a book.

0/5 Bookmarks: Congrats! You now have kindling! (just kidding, please do not burn books; just do not waste your money or your time with this one)!

The Afterlife of Holly Chase
This December, I read The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. This is a feel-good Christmas novel with a twist on Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol.

Christmas is almost here and you know what that means…Too many retellings of A Christmas Carol! Charles Dickens classic has been retold so many times most everyone knows it by heart, but this book puts an interesting spin on it. The main character, Holly Chase, is a bratty 17-year-old girl and a classic Scrooge. She’s cruel, filthy rich, and despises Christmas. On Christmas Eve night she is indeed visited by three spirits who tell her to change her ways, but she doesn’t. She blows them off as a weird dream and continues being a Scrooge until she dies 9 days later in a car accident. After that, she is introduced as the newest member of the Scrooge Project, an international organization that spends their Christmas every year trying to save one person. As Holly failed, she has to spend the rest of her afterlife as the new Ghost of Christmas Past and as a 17-year-old.

Most of the book focuses on Holly changing as a person after she is introduced to the newest Scrooge, a similarly bratty 17-year-old boy. I thought the book was enjoyable if a little too sappy for my taste. This is actually one of the few Christmas Carol retellings that I enjoyed because it did something different with the story. Holly doesn’t change overnight; she takes the entire year to become a better person. This book is perfect if you are looking for something light to read over Christmas break. It’s a fairly quick read, and although it isn’t my taste I had fun reading it. While you’re at it, why not read the original A Christmas Carol, it’s a classic for a reason after all, even if I do disagree with Charles Dickens’s writing format. Capture the holiday spirit and check out this retelling of A Christmas Carol, rated 4/5 bookmarks.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase is currently available in the McNicholas High School library. Do you have a book that you would like me to review? Please suggest it in the comments or send me an email via

If you are interested in reading and discussing books with your peers and librarians, you should join the “Booked for Lunch” Book Club! They have snacks, books, and opinions. The read for this month is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. The next meeting is in January.

Next month’s genre: Fantasy

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