Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
Release Date - October 24, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 389 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. . . .
A selfish, egotistical person is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve who warn them to change their ways before it's too late. Sounds familiar right? A Christmas Carol is given a whimsical twist in this modern retelling by Cynthia Hand that is as heart warming as the original and just as festive.

Holly is a unlikeable female protagonist and she isn't apologizing for it. She is, in fact, proud of it. She's the girl who instead of changing her ways when given the opportunity merely shrugs and continues on. She's someone that is just undeniably herself. That never changes. She's always who she says is and I love that about this story. Holly's growth, and it is there, feels more authentic because she doesn't magically become someone else. She's still Holly. It is a more subtle change that happens within her and it was beautiful to see unfold.

Project Scrooge is incredible, as are the people who work there. It's what gives this book its heart, and adds an extra dose of f holiday spirit to the story. Those who know A Christmas Carol will delight in the nods to the classic found within these pages, and those who don't will rejoice at the twists, and the modern take Cynthia Hand has given the tale. It's easily a world that could become silly and overdone, but there is something about the writing that keeps it grounded and filled with the spirit of the holidays. The emotional element of the story, and the human connections are felt the most strongly in the relationships between the people at Project Scrooge.

The romance is exactly what you would expect from a book like this. I totally found myself shipping this cute relationship. There is a lot of banter and humour to the romance which I really enjoyed. It also helped that even though Holly's story felt 'magical' because she is, after all, technically dead the romance felt very contemporary and untouched by the paranormal elements (in terms of their interactions). This may seem odd to say, but this added an extra layer of realism to this story that worked for me.

The ending, for me, is perfection. It's just as satisfying as the ending to the classic tale. It makes you feel the warm fuzzies. It leaves you with a smile on your face. It's the ending that is perfect for Holly's story and made me glad it didn't end the way I anticipated it would. A certain famous line is uttered, but I promise that this is the only aspect you'll recognize; even as it leaves you with that expanding heart, feel good feeling.

This is the kind of story I wish I had saved for the middle of the holiday rush. It's a pleasure to read and I could think of nothing better than curling up with this to de-stress after a hectic day of holiday shopping. Consider it a sweet holiday treat that will pair perfect with some candy canes and hot chocolate. It's a magical holiday read that I highly recommend, even for you Scrooges out there.

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