Happy Saturday, all!
Today, we're also reviewing The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig. I was a big fan of A Boy Called Christmas, so it was an absolute delight knowing that there was a sequel - of a sort - to look forward to!
Read on for more.
Published October 31st 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published November 3rd 2016)
Format read: Finished copy
When her mother falls ill, she is sent to the workhouse to toil under cruel Mr. Creeper. For a whole year, Amelia scrubs the floors and eats watery gruel, without a whiff of kindness to keep her going. It's not long before her hope begins to drain away.
Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, magic levels dip dangerously low as Christmas approaches, and Santa knows that something is gravely wrong. With the help of his trusty reindeer, a curious cat, and Charles Dickens, he sets out to find Amelia, the only girl who might be able to save Christmas. But first Amelia must learn to believe again. . . .
The Girl Who Saved Christmas is just as amusing, quirky and thoughtful as Boy..., it's a hodgpodge of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and even has something for fans of Victoria and Albert, whether you've learned about her background from history, or from the Masterpiece/ITV series. (I'll admit I laughed, when I realized I knew all of the people Victoria referred to, more because of the TV series than anything else.)
The core story of Amelia being made to live in the workhouse, and Santa's decision to save her, is a traditional rescue tail (think: almost anything Disney has ever made), with a hint of Dickensian sternness mixed it. Therefore, it's probably not surprising that Charles Dickens himself shows up, in another cameo that made me laugh out loud.
Younger readers will likely find themselves relating to Amelia; even if they can't understand everything she's going through, they'll likely recognize her fierceness and determination to find hope, even in a world that seems to keep trying to take it from her. It's a worthy holiday message, reinforced by Haig's delightful writing, and wonderful characterizations.
With some black-and-white illustrations that soundly round out the story, the book gets the highest of recommendations from me.
About the author:
MATT HAIG is an internationally bestselling author whose novels for children and adults have been translated into twenty-six languages. His children’s books have won the Smarties Gold Award, the Alex Award, and the Blue Peter Book Award, and been nominated several times for the Carnegie Medal and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. His most recent book, the bestselling A Boy Called Christmas, was praised by Stephen Fry as “the most evergreen, immortal Christmas story to be published for decades.” He lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England, with his wife and two children. Visit him at matthaig.com and follow him at @matthaig1.