Blog Tour: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: young adult contemporary
Format/Source: paperback, from the author

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Your Book Travels.

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 am of the opinion that there need to be WAY more holiday books in YA, please and thank you, so I was really excited to be asked to be on the tour for The Afterlife of Holly Chase.

Holly is a refreshingly grumpy YA protagonist. She doesn't have a lot of patience for people, and she lets them know it. And you know what? I dig it. Holly in the afterlife is not quite so awful as Holly while she's alive in chapter 1, but death and her own experience with Project Scrooge didn't turn her into a saint, and that's something I can really appreciate. While Ethan, the new Scrooge, is pivotal to the story, it is still Holly's story, and I like that she grows and matures on her own terms. Not even her own death could change Holly's mind!

Or, as Holly would say, "whatevs"

I'm a big fan of books with interesting relationships, and The Afterlife of Holly Chase is chock full of them. During the early chapters of Afterlife, I was basically bouncing in my seat waiting for Holly to cross the invisible line and approach Ethan because I KNEW these two would be fun together. What's better than one angsty teenage grump? Uh, that would be TWO. Except they're not all Debbie Downer with one another. They're fun and saucy and they have GREAT banter, which I'm a sucker for. And there's a sweetness to the two of them that's unexpected for two Scrooges. I also really like the group dynamic with all the Project Scrooge employees.

There are a couple small things about the book that frustrated me. I love that this is a take on A Christmas Carol, but I think it sticks a little too faithfully to the source material with too many parallels. The main issue is that everyone at Project Scrooge is assigned a work name taken from a Dickens book (like Copperfield, Havisham, etc). THEN everyone in Ethan's life correlates to a role in A Christmas Carol. This means all the characters essentially have two names. And when you throw in Holly's role as the Ghost of Christmas Present, which is often shortened to GCP, and her alias, she has 5. Plus she's part of Team Lamp. There's a pretty large cast of characters here, and I prefer simplicity when that happens so it's easier to keep characters straight. Plus, everything in Ethan's life aligns just too perfectly with ACC. I can suspend my disbelief to a certain extent, but in this case, a little less Dickens would have made this book perfect.

However, Afterlife is not lacking in originality or bold choices. It's bold to retell a classic story that is so well known and twist it to make it yours. It's unique to kill your main character off in the first chapter and have her be dead in the book. It's a DANG RISK to pull off THIS kind of an ending, and dang if Holly isn't super aware of it, that cheeky girl. I don't want to ruin the ending for any of you who haven't read The Afterlife of Holly Chase because it deserves to be discovered as you read. But I'll tell you I like my books with a very particular kind of HEA, and this book doesn't deliever that. Which is a GOOD thing, and I'm actually glad it doesn't go the easy route to my usual preferred end. Holly has a different kind of happy ever after that works for her. As I said above, she's a force to be reckoned with, and she carves out her own story. You better believe the ending is on her terms too.

Purchase Links:
Tour Schedule:
12/3: Little Book Worm Reviews: Aesthetic post
12/4: Haunted by Books: Review & playlist
12/5: The Ultimate Fangirl: Downloadable bookmarks
12/6: The YA Book Traveler: Top 5 reasons The Afterlife 
of Holly Chase should be on your December TBR
12/7: Vicky Who Reads:  Listicle: 10 Holiday Songs You'll 
Think About When Reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase 
12/8: Novel Knight:  Holiday Gift Guide
12/9: A Court of Crowns and Quills: Ghost of Christmas Past/Present/Future
12/10: That Artsy Reader Girl: Favorite Fictional Scrooges 
12/12: The Clever Reader: Dream Cast
12/13: BookCrushin: Review 
12/14: Mary Had A Little Book Blog: Review

About the Author:
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the Unearthly trilogy, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, My Lady Jane, My Plain Jane, and the upcoming My Calamity Jane (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), and The Afterlife of Holly Chase. 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 friends.

Author Links:


U.S. only

The winner will receive a signed copy of a Cynthia Hand novel of your choice, a set of red fingerless gloves (knitted by Cynthia), a holiday spice candle, a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas, two peppermint mocha bath bombs, a peppermint cream and pomegranate raspberry lip balm set, a “make your own ugly sweater kit,” a pair of reindeer glasses, a Christmas mug that reads: “Holi-yays,” Christmas pencils, candy cane Christmas kisses, and a limited edition Holly Chase ornament (signed by Cynthia). Digital download of "The Afterlife of Holly Chase: An Alternate Christmas Carol" by Lindsey Hunt.

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  1. Seeing family and friends I don't see often throughout the year. Thank you

  2. I love all the yummy food! I'm not ashamed to admit that lol! I also love watching Christmas movies and the decorations!

  3. Grumps and Scrooges sound like good material for YA fiction!