Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

( 314 )

Overview

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 ...

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Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

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Overview

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 extraordinary tale of a spunky heroine who hasn't always made the right choices, but needs to discover what makes life worth living.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Stephanie L. Petruso
Following a tragic dodgeball accident, Tessa finds herself wandering around the local mall. It was her favorite place, so she assumes that it is heaven now. She is led to the mall's lost and found and gets the chance to view her life through the lens of things that she has purchased, like a yellow cup, pencil box, bra, and prom dress. Each represents a chapter in her life-and in the book-that changes Tessa and often costs her a part of her self-respect, such as the yellow cups for the lemonade stand that she ran in grade school. Tessa was excited to earn money to donate for homeless cats. No one stopped at her booth, though, and her class voted to use the money that they earned to get new chairs for the auditorium. The prom dress made her feel beautiful, but it was ruined when her prom night ended in disaster. These disappointments slowly compound to make Tessa dislike herself and expect others to dislike her too. Looking back on them objectively, she is able to see herself as a regular person who is flawed but redeemable. Mass is the author of the heartwarming A Mango-Shaped Space (Little, Brown, 2003/VOYA April 2003) and Leap Day (2004/VOYA February 2004). Although this book is not as engrossing her earlier work or original as other life-after-death young adult books, such as Zevin's Elsewhere (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005/VOYA October 2005) and Soto's Afterlife (Harcourt, 2003/VOYA February 2004), it is still an entertaining and thought-provoking story that teens will enjoy. The short, free-verse format might entice reluctant readers to pick up the book.
Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 12 up.

After a freak gym-class dodge ball accident, comatose Tessa finds herself in what she believes to be her own personal Heaven. In this case, Heaven is more shopping mall than billowy clouds. In fact, it is not just any shopping mall. It is the mall in Tessa's town, the one where her parents work. The mall is nearly empty, and no one seems to know Tessa is there. No one, that is, except a mysterious boy with a drill bit sticking out of his head. He clarifies that she is not actually dead but is having a "near-death experience." He takes her to the mall's Lost and Found. There he helps her find a large shopping bag filled with an assortment of odd items, ranging from a princess costume to a bicycle horn, a red bra to a bottle cap. Soon the high school junior is revisiting various incidents in her life, reflecting on her relationships, her activities, and all that led up to the day's pivotal moment on the dodge ball court. Not many teens have the impetus to take stock of their lives but maybe more should. Wendy Mass pulls no punches as she shares the angst and pain--and yes, drama--of childhood and adolescence. The result is a funny but thought-provoking look at one girl's life. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up
With a dodge ball soaring toward her head, time slows as Tessa considers all of the trivial things floating through her mind; an Ashlee Simpson song, the wedgie she has from her gym shorts, and the color of the dodge ball. But the final thought she must consider is the question she needs to answer-if only she could remember it. At 16, Tessa finds herself in heaven taking a journey through past events in her life while she wavers in and out of consciousness in the hospital. Written in verse, her recollections span her earliest memories as a toddler to her most recent memories leading up to the gym-class accident. Tessa's witty and honest voice tells the story of a girl who struggles to make friends, maintain family relationships, and to be honest with herself. Before she can return from where the accident has taken her, she must face the reality of her life and her role in creating that reality. However, what Tessa discovers is a truth that is far more optimistic and promising than she gave herself credit for. Tessa's journey and authentic voice is one that readers will appreciate. Her tendency to turn a blind eye to the good in others and herself is a trait that many teens have in common. What makes this novel unique is its ability to bring the character to this realization without being preachy or condescending. Funny, thought-provoking, and at times heartbreaking, this story will entertain and inspire readers.
—Lynn RashidCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316058506
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 77,136
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.38 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Mass

Wendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers, the ALA Schneider Family Award winner A Mango-Shaped Space, Leap Day, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall, and Every Soul a Star. Wendy lives in New Jersey with her husband and their twins. Her website is www.wendymass.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 314 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(182)

4 Star

(61)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(27)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 315 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2011

    REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall was overall a really good book. The author's craft was very unique and very well thought out. This is yet another great book by Wendy Mass. :)

    35 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    Confusing

    I was disappointed with this book, because I love every single one of Wendy Mass's books. Not exactly this one. It was puzzling and I didn't really like it. I didn't even finish reading it because it made me uncomfortable. I would not recommend this.

    29 out of 63 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2010

    Somewhat,but not exactly that great

    I liked this book the first time I read it-it was enjoyable,interesting,and creative.The part about her Junior Prom even inspired me to write a story.However,after reading it a couple times,some of the magic was lost.I mean,I still like how Ms.Mass describes life as a teen and preteen,but the book was a bit too short and choppy.I wish she would've created more of a cliffhanger ending than just a standalone book.Still,I would recomment this book to anybody 11 or older.

    24 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Good book

    Its was a good book. It was like a teenage version of "It's A Wonderful Life". I would reccomend it any girl. Wendy Mass is a great author and this book proves it!

    22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    RE;10

    I dont think you should it says its for ages 12 and up and i agree. Im 15 and i loved the book but i dont think i would have if i was like oh say 10

    Hope i helped :)

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Rethink your life

    It is good and makes you think more about how some of your own disisions may have changed your life. If you could look back on your past would it change how you continue into your future.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    ?im 10

    I dont know if i should read this im only 10

    12 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Best ever

    I completley am in love with this book. Even though i have like billions of dollars, im happy that i spent money on this:) the characters are good and wendy mass has done it again!!!

    12 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Too inapropriate

    I usually love Wendy Mass' books. However, this one was very inapropriate for kids my age or any age. I didn't even finish reading it and deleted it immediately after. I wish I could give it zero stars. Very disapointed.

    11 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Amazing

    Good book though it was way to short and a bit depressing.her mother was really mean to her as akid but the way its wrote you feel a lot of sympathy for her. As soon as you get a part where you think you go girl you also feellike deserves a better life. I like this book a lot

    9 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Amazing

    Wendy Mass is a great author and this book just proves it!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2011

    UGGHH!

    I've seen these good reviews book, but i found it mentally disturbing I guess if you like those books about... you know then this could be a really good book. But, it wasn't for me. I found the plot only half-original not seen; but surely stolen. And the characters were a mess. I know the only way in the world that you would even find this book is if you were looking for Wendy Mass books; and I love her, but she just failed :( Instead go for a more..... good Wendy Mass book :) I recommend the Candy Makers; Every Soul A star, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. That kinda thing! Anyway not a propro for 5th grade and under. Just OK for 6th grade. Good for 7th to 10th even. Hope you like my reviews!

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    HATE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!

    This book was not my fav. I luv the Wendy Mass books but this was awkward. Now just wasted my $ on this........so sad.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    ANONYMOUS

    I love this book so much i have read it a thousand times. It was sad at times and funny but it is very inspiring to any girl. I recomend any girl 10 and up should read this.
    This book teaches a lesson

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Anonyous March 7th 2013

    This is an amazing book its what kids like a fantasy that could happen and coudnt at the same time. Wendy Mass should have all of her books in the school libraies! My school only has 2 but, they are the best books yet. Wendy Mass is truly 1 of a kind and also my hero.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Trouble

    My teacher took it from me in class cuz i was reading it and nit paying attention

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Book

    Great

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Makes you think

    This book really makes you think alot about things in your life. The author really makes a good point to make you question if you would change things if you looked back on them. The mother really got on my nerves with the way she treats her daughter, but I just let it go.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    &female

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    &phone

    Really good book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 315 Customer Reviews

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