So, this is a Valentine's version of A Christmas Carol. The premise is that the main character, Ben, hates Valentine's Day ever since his girlfriend Marly died of canceer. It was my first time ever reading a remixed novel, so the phrases and dialogue that came directly from Dickins's original jarred me a bit -- and I kept getting pushed out of the story because the Muppet Christmas Carol stayed so close to Dickins's original language that I couldn't hear anyone except muppet characters saying a lot of these lines . . .
This book wasn't what I'd expected. I'd expected a little more Levithan (I love his writing style) and a little less Dickins. But there were several touches that made this distinctly Levithan, such as the ghost of Valentine's Present being a drag queen and Tiny Tim being portrayed by a gay couple (Tiny & Tim).
Some parts of the story worked really well in this retelling, such as the idea that Marley's "chains" were forged from Ben's inability to let her go after she died. But some parts didn't translate as well: it was hard for me to picture a lot of this dialogue taking place in a modern day high school.
The remix gives the whole story a dream-like, surreal quality, which works well enough with the subject matter. There are equal parts light and dark and it's a sweet, quick read for Valentine's Day.