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Annotation: After hitting her head, Ellie Charles, thirteen, encounters a mysterious girl who takes her to moments in her past that explain how she became a manipulative, unhappy person in a story reminiscent of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
Catalog Number: #168877
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 243 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-374-30756-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-374-30756-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017046445
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In this modern, middle-school spin on Dickens's A Christmas Carol, thirteen-year-old mean-girl Ellie is visited by a ghost, who shows Ellie scenes from her life to inspire her to change her ways. Margolis first presents Ellie as a deplorable monster, then, in the heart-rending flashbacks, strips away her confidence and perfection to reveal a broken teen with whom readers will sympathize.
School Library Journal
Gr 57 Ellie Charles has been best friends with Marley Winters since they were babies. They have perfect families Ellie has a mom and a dad, and Marley has her two dads. They are both happy and life is good. Then, at age eight, Ellie's parents separate and her dad moves out of the house two days before Christmas. Ellie's world flips upside down and she makes up her mind to never be weak or show emotions for others. She believes that to be successful, one needs to fit in with the right crowd, be mean, and have very little regard for others' feelings. She is successful in doing just that and becomes the most feared and most popular girl in her middle school. In so doing, Ellie forgets the traditions she and her mother have had through yearsmaking sourdough bread together and spending time with Marley's family. The new Ellie humiliates her best friend and even "ghosts" her. Because of this, Marley and her dads move out of the neighborhood, and she transfers to a new school. When an accident happens, it forces Ellie to relive her life and to see herself through new eyes, reminiscent of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol . The "Girl in Black" takes Ellie through her life's journey, from beginning and gives her a glimpse of her future. Ellie is not impressed with what she sees and must act to change the course of her future. An interesting take on a classic narrative, though the first half of the book is slow. For readers who stick with it, the ending is well earned and satisfying. VERDICT A secondary purchase or where libraries are in need of more middle grade fiction about friendship trouble and bullying. Valentine Muyumba, Terre Haute, Indiana State University
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book (4/1/19)
School Library Journal (10/1/18)
Word Count: 49,381
Reading Level: 4.1
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.1 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 503565 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: HL570L
Guided Reading Level: Z

Ellie Charles is the smartest, prettiest, best-dressed, and most popular kid at Lincoln Heights Middle School. She's also the meanest. She knows it, and she uses her reputation to keep herself at the top of the food chain. But one night, just before her school's winter dance, she encounters a ghost who might change everything. This ghost--of a girl dressed all in black--leads Ellie through her past, present, and future. Can what Ellie sees change her ways--or even save her life?

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