Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

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Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 01, 2007
ISBN
0316058513
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When 16-year-old Tessa suffers a shocking accident in gym class, she finds herself in heaven (or what she thinks is heaven), which happens to bear a striking resemblance to her hometown mall. In the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Carol, Tessa starts reliving her life up until that moment. She sees some things she'd rather forget, learns some things about herself she'd rather not know, and ultimately must find the answer to one burning question--if only she knew what the question was.

Written in sharp, witty verse, Wendy Mass crafts an extroardinary tale of a spunky heroine who hasn't always made the right choices, but needs to discover what makes life worth living.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Every Awful Thing She's Done
Overall rating
 
2.0
Plot
 
2.0
Characters
 
1.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
In a plot device similar to Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", Tessa passes away in a freak dodgeball accident and is forced to relive her life, based on items from the mall where she spends all her time.

I did not enjoy this book at all, unfortunately. The first page is fantastic, and I love Wendy Mass' ability to write voice, but it is wasted on Tessa. Or perhaps it is just that in reviewing Tessa's early years, Mass only revisits all the terrible things she has done, so I ended up really disliking her character.

This book was not for me.
Good Points
Wendy Mass is great at writing voice.
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Shopping in the Afterlife
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Imagine coming upon a bag of forgotten things, then reliving memories for each and every item you touch. After being beaned on the head during a game of dodgeball, high school junior Tessa finds herself in what she thinks is heaven - but it looks a lot like the local mall.

Is she dead or just dreaming? She remembers being hit by the ball. She remembers falling down on the gym floor. She remembers being a "mall brat," which she compares to being an army brat, but without the moving around. Because both of her parents work at the mall, it's just as familiar to her as her own home.

Soon, Tessa meets an oddly interesting boy who leads her to a bag filled with things she's obtained from the shopping center over the years. The bag includes a baby shoe, a box of crayons, a pair of flip-flops, and a prom dress, among many other things. Tessa then relates a series of events, one for each item. She remembers scenes with her parents, her older brother, her friends, the girls she wanted to befriend, the boys she wanted to date.

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall is a fast, compulsive read. The story flows smoothly. Though it is written as a verse novel, it does not rhyme and is not set to a certain meter. Tessa's memories are related in chronological order, making it easy for readers to quickly learn the story of her life.

This isn't a maudlin modern Our Town, but rather a charm bracelet come to life. Instead of this being a scrapbook of the best and happiest times of Tessa's life, it's an honest look at what she's been though. She's not proud of everything she's done, and she must learn to take responsibility for her actions. As her shame and secrets come to light, Tessa begins to realize that she can still shine -- and that (hopefully) she's got a lot of living to do.
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User reviews

4 reviews
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3.0
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3.0(4)
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Overall rating
 
4.0
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4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Hannah

Heaven looks a lot like the mall is a book similar to It's a wonderful life or Christmas Carol. Tessa suffers a head injury in P.E. and goes into a coma. In her coma she visits the mall, her home away from home. But it's not just any trip to the mall... she gets a chance to look back at her life. The good and the bad. During this journey she has to answer one question, but she doesn't know the the question. I really enjoyed this book and I think you will too!

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Not Heavenly
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2.0
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2.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Mariah

I had never read a book in verse before and I was intrigued by this
one. The idea was not very original and it was kind of boring but
basically it was ok.

Tessa in the beginning was very stuck up
and selfish in my opinion but I guess that was the point and thats why
she had to reevaluate her life. Also drill bit guy (I dont think they
mention his name) was very flaky and strange and seemed to have a
bigger part in the book than he actually did. Very confusing

This book was ok but I would only read it again if I had nothing else to read.

reprinted here with author's permission


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a fantastic and moving book everyone should read
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Reader reviewed by kenzee



This book explains the life of girl named Tessa who pratically lives at the mall. one day Tessa suffers an accident from being hit with a dogeball in gymclass. She appears in heaven or what she thinks is heaven. She thinks of all her memories while she is in heaven and sees somethings she likes, andsome things she would rather forget. At the end of the book Tessa is a much better person then she was before. This book is a very moving book and the way Wendy Mass wrote it made it even more moiving. This is a great book and i reccomend it all the way andhope many people get a chance to read it. =]
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The Five People You Meet In Heaven-esque
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5.0
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5.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Sara

"I know the girl on the floor, the one
with her neck bent all weird.
I know the girl is me.
But I'm too busy
soaring toward heaven
to care.

And the thing that is most surprising,
the thing you might not know,
is that in the right light,
heaven looks a lot like the mall.

Written in witty, accessible verse, Wendy Mass's novel tells the story of 16-year old Tessa and what happens in the moments after a shocking gym class accident. Tessa finds herself in heaven, which bears a striking resemblence to her hometown mall, and in the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, she starts reliving her life up until that moment. Tessa sees some things she'd rather forget, learns some things about herself she'd rather not know, and ultimately she must fidn the answer to one burning question - if only she knew what the question was."

This book was really amazing. I really liked how it was written - in a poetic free-verse form almost. It was lyrical. It comes out September 07.
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