Author: Chris Priestley
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Published Date: June 16th 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Middle Grade
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man. Huddling in a graveyard for warmth, Sam and Lizzie are horrified to see the earth around one of the tombs begin to shift, shortly followed by the wraithlike figure of a ghostly man. He warns Sam about the future which awaits such a bitter heart, and so begins Sam's journey led by terrifying spirits through the past, present and future, after which Sam must decide whether to take the man, Scrooge's, life or not.
A perfectly layered, tense and supremely satisfying twist on one of Dickens' most popular books, cleverly reinvented to entice a younger readership.
"What is it to you if they're sad? Maybe they deserve to be sad, eh? Maybe they were horrible people when they were alive.""But I think that's why they're sad. I think they want to help people now and they can't."
Sam and Lizzie are two street children who have very little and will most likely pass away very soon, if they don't get help from someone. Because of this Sam is a very angry young man who is trying his best to protect/support Lizzie, but it isn't going well. So Sam decides that he is going to take something from Mister Scrooge. Except somehow things go wrong and instead he gets taken along by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future and sees not only his own life, but parts of scrooges as well. Along the way Sam starts seeing that his choices haven't also been the best and that what he is about to do will not only end up hurting himself, but making Lizzie have to do things as well in order to stay alive.
"It is about everyone Scrooge can affect. If his future is changed, then so is theirs. We do not visit him because he is deserving, but because he is not. A bad man turned to good is benefit to all."
Overall I really loved this story. As a kid I would wonder who those children were that were under the presents robes, where did they come from, did they have any connection to scrooge or were they just to be used as an example? This book not only satisfied my childhood curiosity, but also made me realize some other things as well.
We know that the children represent "Ignorance and want: beware them both, but beware ignorance most of all." and that we should try to help them. But this book not showed the background of the children, but what made them get into this type of situation and how not only what there father had done, but what their mother choose as well ended up making them suffer. Plus Sam being so angry at the world all the time didn't really help matters either. Going through the journey of past, present and future of Sam and some parts of scrooge. Not only shows us how we all affect others, but how starting to be more aware and changing things for the better not only helps ourselves but those all around us as well. It's also a good reminder at this time of the year of how we all need to do more, not just around Christmas time, but all the time.
"He brought guilt to the feast, because we are all too aware that few of us know how to 'keep Christmas' in the way that the reformed scrooge did in later life."
This might be a middle grade book, but I think it is one that all should read, because it is a good reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.