I have never read The Christmas Box. I read The Walk but found no desire to go any more miles with Mr. Christoffersen. When I noticed this particular book, I admit I was only mildly curious, since I typically do not gravitate toward overtly syrupy stories. However, I like any kind of science fiction that is directed toward youthful readers.
The teens in this tale behave very teen-like; they make plenty of mistakes, they are awkward, and enough of them are just plain mean that the reader has very little difficulty believing in them. The adult characters are not nearly as interesting, and are pretty thin and predictable in their various roles. That may be by design; I am not sure. Regardless, the kids get all the good lines, and all the good action.
And there is plenty of action. These teens all possess unique (and original) powers based on electricity. Their abilities are not written in such a way that you can clearly see how they can work together to pursue a common goal, and their methods of figuring that out are very well written. Along the way, they manage to discover not only how they developed their powers in the first place, but also why.
This is a surprisingly well-crafted story of realistic teenagers confronting completely unbelievable situations and stumbling along to try to overcome their obstacles. The ending clearly indicates more is planned for these kids, and yet is satisfying enough for those who don’t want to continue along, and there are only hints of sappiness. Although I am looking forward to the next phase of this story, I still have no plans to find a copy of The Christmas Box.
Rated: Mild. There is no language at all in this book, but there are some pretty intense torture and cruelty. It is not overdone, but there is enough to make one think twice before recommending it to a very young reader.