The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley
Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408854136
(Age: 11-15) Recommended. I am not familiar with Chris Priestley's work - no doubt, because the supernatural/paranormal genre is not one for which I usually opt. But reading a little of his bio, it seems this 'master of the macabre' loves nothing better than to take a traditional Gothic horror story and put a complete new twist on it.
And this he has done with A Christmas Carol. I really like Dickens but I'm not an Egghead knowing all there is to know about every book and while I like A Christmas Carol it has never been my favourite, and I had completely forgotten about the two 'wild' children hidden underneath the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present. Ignorance and Want, these two feral children become the focus of this side stepping of the original story, taking the reader into the dark and disturbing world of Dickens' London.
Written in a style that will totally captivate those young readers who relish a bit of spookiness, this story is new, fresh and engaging while completely retaining the pervading message of the original novel.
I'm giving this a big thumbs up and will definitely be promoting it to Middle School next year - creepy but not horrific, matter of fact but not graphic (about the dire circumstances of London's poor) and totally resolved in a satisfactory manner.
I'd be grabbing this one for your library shelves - readers around 11 to 15 would love it I believe