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Marly's Ghost

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,544 ratings  ·  249 reviews
Two of children's literature's brightest stars present this compelling novel about loss that puts a modern twist on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. When his girlfriend Marly dies, Ben takes a painful journey through Valentine's Days past, present, and future. Young Adult.
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Dial
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Average rating 3.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,544 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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Sarah Churchill
I have VERY mixed feelings about Marly's Ghost. This is a 'remix' of A Christmas Carol, set around Valentine's Day where a 16 year old guy who's girlfriend has recently died is being a 'scrooge' about love. I think that's fairly expected, personally. He's then visited by the ghost of his dead girlfriend (this is just 4 months after her death, mind you. Nice) who is weighed down by a chain of objects because he won't let her go or move on. FOUR MONTHS. There follows three ghosts who show him thin ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marly's Ghost is a reimagining of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens but it is set on Valentine's Day rather than Christmas Day. Ben's girlfriend Marly dies and he has become bitter and no longer believes in the goodness of love. Marly's ghost turns up and brings three other spirits with her for Ben to experience Valentines past, present and future. We learn from the author's notes that he translated the original work section by section. I think that's an intriguing method and it does mostly w ...more
Cameron Chaney
Mar 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, 2017
This seemed rather pointless to me. It's a modern remix of A Christmas Carol, only it is set on Valentine's Day. Even though it's updated to tie in with our world today, a lot of the exact dialogue is taken from the Dickens classic and used here. It felt all off. No one talks like that anymore, especially teenage kids. It was corny and I began to wonder why I wasn't just rereading the original story. Which is what I recommend doing. Leviathan is a good writer in a lot of ways, but don't bother w ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever)
Marly's Ghost is a modern day retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with a Valentine's twist to it. I haven't read the original Dickens story but I am familiar with the story so I'm glad it ended up being a pretty great book.

The story revolves around Ben (Ebenezer) who lost his girlfriend Marly due to illness. Her death made Ben bitter and uncaring about love and even his friends, until Marly's ghost send three spirits to Ben. That's where the remix of A Christmas Carol really starts
I'm not really that big a fan of Charles Dickens, but I am a huge fan of David Levithan and Brian Selznick. I was expecting a modernization of A Christmas Carol with a twist and the amazing dialogue and true-to-life characters that I expect from Levinthan. What I didn't expect was the cheesy nearly word-for-word retelling of a book I never really liked in the first place.

It should really come as no surprise that Marly is dead, the victim of a cancer that claims the lives of far too many peop
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I'm not sure whether I should've read this at Christmas or closer to Valentine's day? The whole tone was...odd. I appreciated what ti was trying to do, but the actual story I felt was a bit lacklustre. Also, I haven't read Will Grayson, Will Grayson (and never intend to) so Tiny's significance went over my head meaning I wasn't too connected with the characters to begin with.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is based closely on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, so much so, that some of the ghosts' dialogue was taken one to one from the original and Dickens is listed as a co-author. The story is about an 18 yr old who has lost his girlfriend and no longer believes in love and friendship (symbolised by valentine's day*).

The book was well written and the sense of grief and loss was eloquent and painful. The fresh take on the original made me realise just how good and multi-year Dickens'
Suad Shamma
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, own
I was quite disappointed with this book. I really expected something extraordinary with a Selznick and Levithan collaboration of a Dicken's classic, but what I got was a flimsy and unexciting interpretation of A Christmas Carol, with what looked to me as very ordinary illustrations.

Swap Christmas with Valentine's and you have a very lazy edition of the magical original. I did not think this was a creative effort of the story, and it didn't feel like Levithan tried very hard to make it his own.
Charley Cook
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Marly’s Ghost is the story of Ben, after recently losing his girlfriend he loses his love for the love festival itself, Valentines Day.
In an almost line for line retelling of the Charles Dickens classic we follow Ben through his three visits from the ghosts of Valentines Day past, present and future.
In the Authors Notes we learn that Levithan went through A Christmas Carol and translated the book part by part into this book. That makes this story completely unique yet a charming tribute to the
Soma Rostam
When his girlfriend Marly dies, Ben takes a painful journey through Valentine's Days past, present, and future to realize just how much his life has changed, with or without Marly.
I thought this book would be a painful contemporary romance. It was anything but that. This leans much more toward the MG Fantasy genre not the YA. And unfortunately, I am not much of a fan of MG. I just can't concentrate on it for too long and I become bored quite fast.
So, this is the deal. I was bored by most of t
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Marly’s Ghost is an interesting remix of A Christmas Carol in which the events take place over Valentine’s Day. In the story, the main character, Ben, gives up on love after his girlfriend dies and the classic three spirits visit him in an attempt to change his heart. Ben isn’t really meant to be a likeable character, but it is interesting to follow along during his transformation. I appreciated how the author made an effort to capture Dickens’s “old fashioned” tone, however it didn’t always wor ...more
Jade Diamond
I have mixed feelings about Marly’s Ghost, I was quite disappointed with this book. Ben’s girlfriend Marly dies and he becomes bitter and no longer believes in the goodness of love. Marly’s ghost turns up and brings three other spirits with her for Ben to experience Valentines past, present and future. This is a modern day retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with a Valentine’s twist to it.

Read Full Review Here
Not his best book but still good!
Dec 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017-reads
1? 1,5? 2? Why it's so hard for me lately to rate some books?

This just isn't for me. It was boring, and from the characters dialogues I would say they were 60 years old, no 16
A quick and easy read. It's fun to see the translation of this quintessential Christmas story into a Valentine's Day tale, and see all the characters turned into regular high school teenagers.

Read the full review at Book Nerds Across America:
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Posts this in August. Gets kicks from being unseasonal.

David Levithan’s Marly’s Ghost is a ‘remix’ of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The whole has been given a ‘Valentine’s twist’ to further set it apart from its original. Marly’s Ghost begins in rather an interesting manner: ‘Marly was dead, to begin with. There was no doubt whatsoever about that… When she went off the treatments, she decided she wanted to die at home, and she wanted me to be there with her family. So I sat, and I waited, and I wa

A lot of David Levithan fans disliked this book. I love the story of A Christmas Carol (I say 'the story' because I've yet to read the original), but even so, I figured I would be disappointed. Compared to my expectations, I was pleasantly surprised with how I liked this book. It had its weaknesses, but it's nevertheless a fairly strong retelling of the original story.

The book is strongest in its character development. Ben's grief felt slightly over-the-top at the beginning, but by the end
Marly's Ghost is David Levithan's take on Dickens' A Christmas Carol with a twist. Rather than focusing on Christmas, Marly's Ghost focuses on love and Valentine's Day. While I really enjoyed reading more of David Levithan's work, I felt that this book was a bit unoriginal in plot. It sticks very closely to the original work and was very predictable. I never found myself truly captivated by the story though I was interested in some of the events that took place in the past, present and future. ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: rb
Ben's girlfriend, Marly, has died, and he can't find himself able to move on. He isolates himself from his friends, and he completely avoids any chance to celebrate Valentine's Day, which was his and Marly's favorite holiday. He begins to believe that love and this holiday are both humbug, and so begins his hauntings of the ghosts of Valentine's day past, present, and future. This story is a clever spinoff of A Christmas Carol, but it is experienced by a young man during Valentine's Day. It's re ...more
This didn't work for me. I'm still a big fan of David Levithan, but this felt too constrained, too artificial. They've tried to stay too tightly to the original text and what's resulted is cheesy and stifled. And worst of all, it feels like it was commissioned, rather than done for the love of it. Two stars still for fleeting moments of brilliance as Levithan escapes from Victorian constraint, but overall a big disappointment.
Katie (Kitkatscanread)
Received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book. It is my true opinion only.

This is by far my favourite David Levithan book yet.
A mix of a Christmas Carol and Valentines makes it so perfect.
Was very touching as well as heart felt.

This story is definitely one that will make you think.
It is a quick and easy read. Perfect for all David Levithan fans.

Clare Holman-Hobbs
Unfortunately, I think the Christmas Carol structure of the novel actually held the content back. It was too rigidly structured to the source material, and had it been a more "inspired by" approach, I think it would have been a much stronger piece.
Sarika Patkotwar
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating- 3.5

*This review was initially published on The Readdicts Book Blog. For more reviews, go here .

I literally go mad when I see David Levithan books in Indian bookstores and whenever that happens, I just have to buy the books. That's how I came across Marly's Ghost, which, very shockingly and disappointingly, I hadn't even heard of until I saw it and just couldn't resist purchasing a copy for myself. When I released that the book was less than 200 pages long or short, I decided to
Tyne Connolly
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I've given this a 3* even though it could've easily been 5. This was a twist on the Dickens classic, which Levithan was rewriting in the 'modern day'. However it was done, in my opinion, very badly - as the story is modern and the things mentioned are from this generation - however the writing is still in Dickens' style - therefore I don't see the point in rewriting? May as well have just read the original. If Levithan did write this and used modern day language too it would've easily been 5*
Kinsey Crosby
Dec 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, rounded up. A cute Valentine’s Day retelling of A Christmas Carol.
Miss Bookiverse
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my sister, Anni, anyone who enjoys a sweet lovestory
Above all things, this book is about love. You can find it on every page, in every sentence. Every word is pure feeling. As usual David Levithan managed to capture something beatiful in his words, something you can feel by reading those unique descriptions.

This story has the undertitle "a remix of The Christmas Carol" which describes it perfectly. It is a retelling of Charle's Dickens classic but instead of Christmas the holiday of the moment is Valentine's Day. I'm impressed how Mr. Levithan ma
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard about Marly's Ghost it drew my attention, a retelling of Christmas carol, but instead of Christmas it's based on Valentine's Day...sounds interesting. I made my request and a short time later soon had the book in my hands...or on my Ipad. Now please note that I have not actually read A Christmas Carol, but I have seen it and know what happens, but that being said I went into Marly's Ghost not knowing what to expect from this unique twist to the story.

Marly's Ghost was a quick
Beth Jones

I have to say, this book really shocked me. I’m not the biggest fan of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens or even David Levithan, but I was a fan of this book.

For a start, I started this book last night, and finished it this morning. I wanted quick read to finish before the end of the month, but I didn’t expect to read half of it in an hour. This book just flew past!

“When the heart stops, you die. Love is everywhere that life is, and if there is no love fo
Charlotte Jones
This book is basically a remix of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and it takes the basic plot of that well-loved story and turns it into a contemporary Valentine’s Day tale.

To begin with, I found that this book was a little depressing; firstly the catalyst of the story, which happens before the book begins, is really sad but also I found the protagonist to be a little too negative considering that this is four months on from that event. Some other reviewers have remarked on that and also the
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David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children's book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

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