When Ben's girlfriend, Marly, dies, he feels his life is over. What could possibly matter now when Marly is gone? So when Valentine's Day approaches, it makes sense that this day that was once so meaningful to Ben leaves him feeling bitter and hollow. But then Marly shows up--or at least her ghost does--along with three others spirits. Now Ben must take a painful journey through Valentine's Days past, present, and future, and what he discovers will change him forever.
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David Levithan is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of many books for teens, including Boy Meets Boy, Every Day, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn), and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green). He is also a publisher and editorial director at Scholastic and teaches at The New School in New York. He lives in New Jersey.
Brian Selznick graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. He has since gone on to be an award-winning author-illustrator of many books for children, including The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which won the Caldecott Medal in 2008 and was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese) and the New York Times bestseller Wonderstruck. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.
Grade 7-10–In this modified version of Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Scrooge has been replaced by Ben, a high school student whose girlfriend has passed away, leaving him extremely cynical about love as Valentine's Day approaches. The creatively mutated story follows the basic action of the original as the teen is visited by Marly's ghost, then three spirits: The Ghost of Love Past, The Ghost of Love Present, and...well, you know. While this seems like a promisingly inventive way to address bereavement, nothing quite clicks in this remix of the classic. Prior knowledge of the original story seems to diminish rather than enhance the power of this adaptation. There are downright awkward moments, too. The character Tiny Tim has morphed into a pair of gay freshmen, Tiny and Tim, for example, and the young lovers' presence in the story seems gratuitous and synthetic. Selznick's pen-and-ink drawings, while very well done, don't quite seem to fit in either, reflecting the overall problem the story has establishing and sustaining a uniform tone and mood.–Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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