Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

4.1 321
by Wendy Mass
     
 

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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

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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.

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:
11/01/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
99,874
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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