Book ReviewYoung Adult

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Publisher: HarperTeen | Pages: 389

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Holiday, Retellin

Rating: ★★★★☆


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 …


I love Christmas. It is by far my favourite holiday. Nevermind the giving and receiving of presents, I just absolutely love the decorations, the movies, the music. I just love the season that Christmas brings along with it. One of my favourite Christmas movies to watch is Scrooged with Bill Murray. I love the whole progression of watching him go from a mean and selfish individual to one who recognizes his own faults. So, when I heard about this modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, I knew it was a book I would have to pick up. I knew it would also make the perfect holiday read.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Holly was such an intriguing character to me. She possessed all the qualities of a person known as a Scrooge while also possessing some aspects to her that demonstrated her inherent desire to be good. Her storyline progressed so naturally throughout this book, in way that demonstrates Hand’s strength for writing. I also LOVED all the characters that worked for Project Scrooge. They all had innate characteristics that I felt drawn to.

My only reservation about this story was the aspect of “insta-love.” I’m not a huge fan of the whole idea that two people see each other and instantly fall in absolute love with one another. To me, this book would have benefitted from a slow progression to love. While it was made clear that Holly and Ethan had a natural draw to each other, I felt as though that could have been focused on for longer than it was, instead of instantly jumping into an “insta-love” connection.

Either way, this book was super enjoyable and the perfect holiday read. It had some twists that I was not expecting that ultimately ended up making this book unpredictable at times and thoroughly entertaining. I think this book has the definite potential of being a re-read for me around the Holiday season.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Favourite Quotes:

“Stories let us see and hear and feel what someone else does,” she explained. “They build bridges to the other islands. That’s why stories are so important. They create true empathy”

“Without stories, we’re all just lonely islands.”

About the Author:

Cynthia Hand is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens. Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A and a Ph.D in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with two cats, one crazy puppy, two kids, and an entourage of imaginary friend.

Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Buy the Book:

Amazon | Chapters | Book Depository


Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

Leave a Reply