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I Woke Up Dead at the Mall
     

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall

4.4 8
by Judy Sheehan
 

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When Sarah wakes up dead at the Mall of America, she learns that not only was she murdered, her killer is still on the loose. A contemporary YA novel with a hauntingly supernatural twist that tackles some of life’s – and the afterlife’s – biggest questions.
  
When you’re sixteen, you have your

Overview

When Sarah wakes up dead at the Mall of America, she learns that not only was she murdered, her killer is still on the loose. A contemporary YA novel with a hauntingly supernatural twist that tackles some of life’s – and the afterlife’s – biggest questions.
  
When you’re sixteen, you have your whole life ahead of you. Unless you’re Sarah. Not to give anything away, but . . . she’s dead. Murdered, in fact. Sarah’s murder is shocking because she couldn’t be any more average. No enemies. No risky behavior. She’s just the girl on the sidelines.

It looks like her afterlife, on the other hand, will be pretty exciting. Sarah has woken up dead at the Mall of America—where the universe sends teens who are murdered—and with the help of her death coach, she must learn to move on or she could meet a fate totally worse than death: becoming a mall walker.

As she tries to finish her unfinished business alongside her fellow dead teens, Sarah falls hard for a cute boy named Nick. And she discovers an uncanny ability to haunt the living. While she has no idea who killed her, or why, someone she loves is in grave danger. Sarah can’t lose focus or she’ll be doomed to relive her final moments again and again forever. But can she live with herself if she doesn’t make her death matter?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
02/01/2016
Gr 9 Up—Sixteen-year-old New Yorker Sarah Evans is shocked when she wakes up dead. At the Mall of America. In Minnesota. Wearing the mango chiffon bridesmaid gown she had on when she died. Along with fellow teen murder victims Harry (cancer, although that isn't technically what killed him), Lacey (pushed off a roof), Alice (she doesn't want to talk about it), and the oh-so-dreamy Nick (gunshot to the chest), Sarah is supposed to use her time at the mall to prepare to move on. The only problem is that Sarah can't believe anyone would want to murder her when she spent her entire (short) life determined to be ordinary. Sarah also knows without a doubt that her father is in danger and she's the only one who can save him—even if interfering with the living is against the rules, according to her annoyingly chipper "death coach," Bertha. In this humorous and offbeat ghost story, Sarah uses her uncanny haunting abilities, along with some help from her new friends, to make sense of her afterlife and save the day. Sarah's snark-filled first-person narration meshes well with the madcap quality of this story. This novel sidesteps religion by presenting the Boy (aka "Boss of You") as the ultimate authority figure in the afterlife while also keeping things like angels separate from any faith-based interpretations. Unfortunately these seemingly arbitrary alternatives also provide little in the way of world-building for the fantasy elements. Pop culture references, including a years too late cameo by Oprah Winfrey, lend a dated and out-of-touch quality to this otherwise strong plot. One-note characters with vague motivations further diminish the overall impact of this novel. VERDICT Sheehan's quirky vision of the afterlife ultimately leads to a meandering plot with a mixed bag of plot points and an ending that ties things up with a too neat bow.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2015-12-22
A feel-good novel about being dead? Only in this quirky, even romantic story. Sarah Evans would never be caught dead in mango, until, well, she wakes up dead in a mango chiffon dress at Minnesota's Mall of America. The 16-year-old New Yorker, the victim of food poisoning intended for her wealthy father, finds herself among other teens, all murdered, from New York City. They become stuck at the mall while they take care of unfinished business in the living world and reconcile their feelings for their new state of being. Unlike her fellow humans (alive or dead), Sarah has a gift, called the Knowing, which allows her to foresee unfortunate events in the future. While she wasn't able to stop her own mother's death, she may be able to thwart her new, greedy stepmother's attempt to kill her father. But she'll need the help of her fellow mall-mates. Although time and socio-economics would have prevented many of them from knowing one another, they become fast friends. Sarah's conversational, quick-paced, first-person narrative, full of "deadly" puns and idioms, recounts how she and her new BFFs (even in death?) work together. And when Sarah finds love in the process, she realizes she's only learned how to live by being dead. Sure, the plot is inconceivable, but isn't life? And death? (Fantasy. 14-18)
From the Publisher
★ “This sparkling debut pulls out all the stops: sweet, sad, hopeful, funny, and romantic in turn, it’s a story bound to make readers laugh even as they cry.” Booklist starred review

"A feel-good novel about being dead? Only in this quirky, even romantic story."Kirkus

"Humorous and offbeat."School Library Journal

From the Hardcover edition.

Children's Literature - Kasey Giard
When Sarah wakes up, still wearing the mango-colored monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress, she is surprised by two things: she is in the Mall of America, far from her New York home, and she is dead. Murdered. Sarah’s mentor encourages her (and the other teen ghosts who have taken up residence in the mall) to let go of her past, but Sarah cannot let go, especially when she learns what happened and realizes someone she loves is still in terrible danger. Now she cannot rest in peace until her murderer has been stopped and her family saved. The concept of this story might be a bit dark, but the playful, frank voice definitely adds some spunk to the tale. As Sarah’s tale unfolds, she relates to the reader as if recounting an adventure to her closest friends. At the mall, she is surrounded by a colorful group of teens, each with different pasts and baggage. Sarah’s relationship with them is dynamic and challenges her to go beyond her limits. By contrast, Sarah’s relationships with her family feel a bit cliché and underdeveloped. The story centers on Sarah and her friends, kind of a contemporary teen version of the 1990s film “Heart and Souls.” Readers looking for a warm-and-fuzzy story about unexpected love and second chances will enjoy the humor and romance of this tale. Reviewer: Kasey Giard; Ages 14 up.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553512465
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/22/2016
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
182,757
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
HL490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I Feel Dead Inside

I woke up dead. At the mall. Still dressed in the (hideous) mango chiffon bridesmaid gown I was wearing when I died. My hair was still pulled back in an elaborate ponytail that was meant to look windswept, but trust me, it would have survived a tsunami. This proves that if you use enough product, your hair can endure things the rest of you can’t. My shoes sparkled in the light. My french manicure was unchipped. I was surrounded by waves and waves of mango chiffon.

Isn’t this perfect? I had actually kept my mouth shut, opting not to tell the bride that I’d never be caught dead in mango. Now here I was. Dead. In mango.

I knew without even a tiny flicker of doubt that I was dead, but I didn’t want to know it. (By the way, that’s my specialty: knowing things I’d rather not know.) And just for the record, I didn’t have the white-light-and-loved-ones-coming-to-welcome-me-because-death-is-a-wonderful-thing transition to the afterlife. Oh no. It felt like I was on a malfunctioning ride at Six Flags and the staff had abandoned us in an electrical storm. I rose up, up, up and took a sharp turn to the right, then a big drop, then a loop, then suddenly rose up again, going faster. So yes, my afterlife started with motion sickness. Nice.

And now I just wanted to slow down the rushing river of panic that was flowing through my veins. FYI: mango chiffon will make you sweat more than usual.

The place was crowded with the ever-so-typical mall suspects: crying toddlers, frazzled parents, laughing teenagers, exhausted store employees, and overweight mall cops. I waved my hands in front of one of the cops and shouted, “Hey! Can you help me? Please!”

He yawned and checked his phone. Why? Because he couldn’t see or hear me. Why? Because he was alive and I was dead.

High over our heads was a multicolored star with these words stretched across its middle: MALL OF AMERICA. (Which is in Minnesota. I never ever once considered that the afterlife was in Minnesota. Did you?)

New York City was where I lived and where I died before my time. And you could say that Manhattan is a giant mall, with subways in place of escalators. This was my first Minnesota visit, and so far, sorry, no, I was not enjoying it. I stayed on my brown modular bench, in my ugly dress and shoes, rocking back and forth, holding myself together at the elbows. It seemed like the thing to do. There were roller coasters off in the distance, so the rumbling sounds of passing conversations were punctuated with high-pitched screams, which was sort of perfect. Keep screaming.

But then the screams stopped. The crowd thinned out. I watched the shoppy shoppers head home to face their buyer’s remorse.

And now is the time to say that this mall was huge. It was ridiculous. It was stupid big. It was like a massive, fake, shiny city. The bright, patriotic Mall of America sign was like a colorful North Star. There was a kiosk with a cheerful and insanely complicated map. So this place was four stories tall, a million miles wide, with approximately three billion stores. Plus roller coasters.

There was a big TV screen above the map, which suddenly lit up and blared an ad for CBS This Morning. It was loud, bright, and absolutely terrifying. I stared at it like it was a roaring dragon. But it stopped midsentence as the lights began to dim all around me. One by one, the escalators stopped moving.

The mall turned sort of dark, but it wasn’t empty. It still had me.

Off to my right, I saw something move. A person. No. Two people. No. Three. They were walking toward me. Slowly and at an even, steady pace. A chill zapped me from my spine to my skull.

“Hello?” I called out. “Can you hear me? Can you see me?” I stood up and got a better look at them. All three were youngish, all staring off into the distance as they walked toward me. Closer and closer.

“Hey!” I shouted. “What do you want?”

They didn’t speak a word but kept coming closer. So. The thing to do when you’re scared for your life (assuming you’re actually alive) is to put on your best tough New York voice and yell, “Back off!”

And then run like hell.

The escalators were stopped, but I leapt upward, two steps at a time, to the next level. I mentally kicked myself for not watching any zombie shows when I’d had the chance as I turned and saw two more, walking along on this level. I leapt to the top floor, with nobody following me. They just kept walking, as if they hadn’t noticed me. Youngish, spaced out, silent. Were they everywhere?

I stood in front of a darkened multiplex and asked, “Now what?” right out loud.

The deep, hard silence all around me was interrupted by a click-clack click-clack coming from the escalator. I spun around and caught sight of a pair of truly unfortunate shoes, worn by a cheerful young woman speed-walking toward me. She wasn’t a slow-walking zombie. And. She could see me.

“Hi there!” she said, confirming that yes, she really could see me. “They were having some very big sales today or I would have found you sooner. You picked a busy day to die, missy!” She had sparkling blue eyes and blond hair braided over her head. She was dressed in a bright blue polyester suit that made her look like she was applying for an internship at Me So Corporate, Incorporated. Her shoes were like horses’ hooves.

“Welcome!” She clapped her hands in delight. “I’m Bertha!” She looked like she was my age, but she sounded like a cartoon grandmother, with a faint Irish lilt to her voice. (And who names their kid Bertha? Doesn’t that qualify as child abuse?)

“So then. You’re Sarah. And you’re really rather dead. But you didn’t move on, did you now? No siree! You’re a bit stuck, aren’t you?” She kept answering her own questions as she took me by the arm (please don’t invade my personal space) and guided me into a narrow hallway. (BTW, when I was alive, I never let anyone guide me into a narrow hallway.)

“You have unfinished business, Sarah. You were murdered, and you’re a bit upset about it.” She said this as if she were saying, Oh, you spilled the milk, but don’t cry over it, okay?

“Um, wait up, there, Bertha,” I said, taking my arm back to its rightful, solitary place. “I wasn’t murdered. If I really am dead, I died from food poisoning. It was accidental.”

“Oh dear me.” Bertha sighed and led me to a side exit marked AUTHORIZED DTTW PERSONNEL ONLY. ALARM WILL SOUND. She pushed past as if she had all the authorization in the world. And after all that warning, we just ended up in a Bed Bath & Beyond.

“Aren’t you just a bundle of unfinished business!” She took my hands (!) and sat me down on an ugly ottoman, while she sat on an even uglier one.

“What does DTTW mean?” I asked, already dreading the answer.

“Dead to the World,” she explained patiently. “The living can’t come in here. They can’t even see it.”

(Sorry I asked.) “I may be dead, but I’m not murdered-dead. That’s completely worse,” I reasoned (sort of unreasonably).

Bertha had an air of I-know-everything-oh-you-poor-fool. “You were poisoned, Sarah. Murdered. Killed. Slain. I’m quite certain of that.”

“But I didn’t have any enemies. Nobody would want to kill me,” I insisted. Because I was right.

She started to say, “And yet, someone did,” but I cut her off. “Okay then. Who killed me?” I asked. “And why? It makes no sense. Why would someone kill me?”

Bertha just smiled some more at me, which became more and more infuriating.

“It’s so nice here!” she replied. “This mall has everything. The living don’t notice the dead here, what with the bright lights and the sales and free samples. Most malls are haunted. Did you know that? The Boy saves this extra-big one for New Yorkers. Rather a tough town, isn’t it? We get our fair share of murder victims.”

The boy? What boy? I looked around, but Bertha kept talking. It was as if this were a long, memorized speech (badly performed) and if I interrupted her, she’d have to start over. And nobody wanted that. She cleared her throat, crossed her feet at the ankles (so ladylike), and clasped her hands in her lap.

“I’m here to help you let go of your old life. All that attachment, all that connection. You have to say goodbye to it all.” She leaned in a little closer, and I thought she was enjoying this. “And here’s how you’ll do it: you’ll get to revisit a day from your life. You’ll go to your funeral, and you’ll work with me and your fellow dead to let go of your old life.”

“What, like group therapy for the dead?” I smirked, trying not to throw up in my brain.

“Yes! You’ve got the idea,” she declared, totally missing the fact that I was mocking her. “And if you can finish the stuff that has you tied to the living world, then off you go to your next life! Isn’t that lovely?”

“What if I can’t?” I just had to ask.

She touched my arm (!) and answered, “You will. I’m really good at this!” I didn’t believe her. I thought she could tell. “Let me take you up to our floor. We have our very own stores, separate from the living! Isn’t death such fun already?” And with that, she directed me past an elevator on the side wall of the store. She was a little too good at dodging my questions. (And if we were going upstairs, why didn’t we get in that elevator?)

“But what about my murderer?” I asked. “What happens to him? Or her? Or them?”

Bertha shook her head and half-smiled. “You’re asking all the wrong questions, Sarah.”

Funny. These seemed like pretty good questions to me. But before I could respond, she clapped a white bracelet onto my wrist like a handcuff. It changed to a dark crimson red when it came in contact with my skin.

“Why did it turn red?”

“Because of you,” Bertha explained. “You’re not ready to move on. Your unfinished business is flowing through you like blood used to flow through your veins. I’ll be watching that bracelet closely. When it loses its color, you’ll move on.”

She hurried onto an escalator, and I hurried right behind her.

“How long does that take?” I asked. “What’s the average time?”

“It’s entirely up to you,” she said. (Don’t you hate that kind of answer?)

“How do I finish my unfinished business?” I asked.

“I’ll help you. I’ll be your death coach.”

“My what?” I asked, even though I’d heard her. I just couldn’t believe her.

“Your death coach!”

“My what?”

“Your death coach!”

“My what?”

“Your death coach!”

I toyed with the idea of seeing how many times I could get her to repeat it, but then I dropped it when we reached this new floor. We were in the upstairs of the Bed Bath & Beyond, looking out on a whole new floor of the mall. This one wasn’t on the map. Bertha rompy-stomped forward in those shoes. (Oh, those shoes!)

“Well, look at you! You died in such a fancy gown! A touch too elegant for everyday, don’t you think?” she said, which immediately made me question her taste level. (This dress was a faux Alexander McQueen, if McQueen had suddenly lost all of his talent.) And yes, I knew that she was changing the subject. “On our floor, you can take whatever you want. It’s not shoplifting, it’s just taking!”

There they were again: those quiet people, walking slowly through the mall, just like the ones I had seen before on the lower floor. They walked at that same slow, even pace. It was sort of hypnotizing. But I turned my attention back to Bertha.

“Why are they walking around like that?” I asked, pointing to the people around us.

Bertha’s expression changed from bright to nervous/controlled/badly-acting-another-memorized-speech.

“They’re mall walkers. A bit like zombies but minus the aggressive tendencies,” Bertha explained. “That’s what happens to you if you fail to move on. They’re stuck in a sort of dream state, trapped in their own awful memories.” She shuddered as a sad girl with straw-colored hair stepped past us.

“Why don’t you wake them up?” I asked.

“They have to wake themselves. They have to choose something different. Never underestimate the power of free will, Sarah.” Bertha shook her head, staring after the girl. “Poor things. They suffer so. . . .” She turned her attention to me, revving up her energy. “You mustn’t become like them. Do whatever you have to do and move on.”

Bertha fished through a huge briefcase that might have belonged to a little girl dressed up as Business Lady for Halloween. She handed me a sheet of paper with printing on both sides and a measly little golf pencil. Before I could read any of it, she said, “And it would be oh so helpful if you would complete this questionnaire for me. It will help me help you.”

“Does anyone know who murdered me? And why?” I asked, but she ignored me. Maybe I should have pushed her harder, but I couldn’t. Death started to feel like rain settling on my cheeks. It was here, no escaping it. And soon, I knew, my skin would be soaked. I shook my head slowly.

“I’ve got three other fairly recent arrivals, just like you. You’ll meet them tomorrow. All of them were murdered, all of them are young and not quite over it. My specialty!” Her energy level made me wonder about her caffeine intake.

“Okay. Fine. If you won’t tell me who murdered me, can I haunt my family and friends like a ghost and find out who did this?”

Bertha’s voice turned hard. “No. You mustn’t even consider that. People who go back and haunt the living get stuck there. They watch the living go on without them, forget about them, grow old and die. But the ghosts remain, roaming the earth forever. Powerless and useless.”

It felt as if the mall had just grown ten degrees colder. The knot of fear in my head was sort of like brain freeze. I didn’t think my day could get any worse after dying all alone (in this dress), but it had.

Bertha looked down at her sad shoes. “You’ll see your family at your funeral and say your final goodbyes then. We don’t haunt the living. We let go, and we move on.”

“Are you completely and totally sure that I was murdered? Really?” I repeated it louder, harsher, but she waved me away, which I hated as much as I hated having my personal space invaded.

Meet the Author

Judy Sheehan is one of the original cast members and creators of the long-running stage hit Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding. She was the playwright-in-residence at New York City’s prestigious Looking Glass Theatre and has had plays produced there and at regional theaters around the country. She lives in New York City, which is sort of like living in a giant mall.

From the Hardcover edition.

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I Woke Up Dead at the Mall 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I flew through it and am ready to reread it. It had everything you could want romance, mystery, death, graceful writing, and just the right touch of humor. You couldn't ask for more.
EllenPlace More than 1 year ago
Finding this book was like finding $20 in your jeans pocket. That's how happy it made me.
Novel_Novice More than 1 year ago
An irreverent and compellingly unique story about death, grieving, and moving on, I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan successfully mixes the macabre and morose with a lighthearted twist on the afterlife. Most books that deal with death and grieving tend to be on the dark, serious side. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is a unique — and quite frankly, brilliant — combination of that dark, serious side with an uplifting, lighthearted twist. The result is an optimistic outlook on this macabre theme. What’s more, Sheehan does so without ever getting into that murkiest of subjects: religion. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is more about coming to terms with a great loss — in this case, the characters’ own human lives — and finding peace to move on. It’s a backwards way of looking at grief, and that’s what makes this book work so brilliantly! Sheehan cleverly turns the subject upside down, and narrates her story from the perspective of the deceased, rather than the bereaved. The twist still portrays the challenge and heartache of grief and loss, but leaves room for some irreverence, tasteful humor, and lightness. The combination is an easy to read, accessible book about death that is enjoyable. Also, Sheehan’s afterlife limbo for murdered teens is the freaking Mall of America. The humor and writing in this book is just so damn witty. It adds an unexpected but delightful spice to a book about an otherwise very serious subject: death, and solving a murder. I mean, the smarts involved just in thinking up such a wildly unexpected combination deserves some applause. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall may inspire a few tears — but more likely, it will inspire a smile, a few laughs, and a warm, fuzzy feeling.
StephanieDoyon More than 1 year ago
This is Sheehan's third novel (her first YA) and I think her best to date. As in her other work, this book is full of her trademark wit and tenderness. Sheehan manages to pull off a difficult feat: exploring the weight of loss and longing without being maudlin or depressing. The plot is fast-paced and full of suspense. In the end, the reader can't but help but feel a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation for life.
annasmama More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book. Shop-a-holic meets Walking Dead? I really had no idea. What I found was a hilarious narrator with a team of unlikely allies-- all murdered teens trapped in the Mall of America trying to come to grips with their deaths and let go of their lives. I loved the relationships between Sarah and her friends, and especially her doting mentor. There are some truly sad moments and lots of fun moments in between, with even a bit of romance in there for extra sweetness. This is a great summer read - not too serious, and oddly (but somehow perfectly) lighthearted despite the dark topic. If you've ever seen (and loved) the 90s movie Heart and Souls, you definitely want to check out this book.
19269684 More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate to receive this ARC through a Shelf Awareness newsletter that announced the drawing. I usually don't win, so when I was contacted by Judy Sheehan, the author of I woke Up Dead at the Mall and congratulated, I was thrilled! Now don't be turned off by the title. When I first saw the title and cover, I thought to myself, "Huh... the cover is rather ordinary and that title is weird!" But I put in for the drawing and BAM! I got the book! I also got a bookmarks, that I'll be sharing, but the story is about Sarah. A girl who literally died and woke up in Mall of America, a sort of Purgatory. No one could see her. No one could touch her and she had unfinished business. She met an odd woman, Bertha, who gave instructions and left Sarah alone to deal with her death until other young, deceased individuals arrived. Together, they learned the ropes of being dead, shared their stories and eventually... they were to move on. But Sarah wasn't ready- and she had a job to do and needed to use her 'Knowing' to get it accomplished!... *For the full review: http://bit.ly/1NAJJxM *Book provided by author Judy Sheehan and Shelf Awareness, for an honest review.
KathyMacMillan More than 1 year ago
When Sarah wakes up dead, in an ugly bridesmaid dress, in an afterlife situated in the Mall of America, her story is just beginning. She soon meets the quirky cast of characters who populate this in-between place while they wait to be born into new lives: tough girl Lacey, optimistic Harry, sad, sweet, Alice, dim pretty-boy Declan, and swoony Nick. Watching over them all is a no-nonsense angel named Bertha. Sarah soon learns that she and all her new friends have all been murdered, and worse – her murderer is now after her grieving father. Her quest to save him will take her in and out of the mortal world as she confronts her own hidden powers and makes choices about the kind of person she wants to be. Not even death can take away Sarah’s wry sense of humor, and the mall is filled with delightful details – the zombie mall-walkers, the dead camping out in Crate and Barrel, the elevator to the mortal world. Who knew a story about death could be so funny and uplifting?
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Sixteen-year-old New Yorker Sarah Evans is shocked when she wakes up dead. At the Mall of America. In Minnesota. Wearing the mango chiffon bridesmaid gown she had on when she died. Along with fellow teen murder victims Harry (cancer, although that isn't technically what killed him), Lacey (pushed off a roof), Alice (she doesn't want to talk about it), and the oh-so-dreamy Nick (gunshot to the chest), Sarah is supposed to use her time at the mall to prepare to move on. The only problem is that Sarah can't believe anyone would want to murder her when she spent her entire (short) life determined to be ordinary. Interfering with the living is against the rules according to her annoyingly chipper "death coach," Bertha, but Sarah knows her father is in danger and that she is the only one who can help in I Woke Up Dead at the Mall (2016) by Judy Sheehan. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is Sheehan's first novel. Sarah's snark-filled, first person narration meshes well with the madcap quality of this story. This novel sidesteps religion by presenting the Boy (AKA "Boss of You") as the ultimate authority figure in the afterlife while also keeping things like angels separate from any faith-based interpretations. Unfortunately these seemingly arbitrary alternatives also provide little in the way of world building for the fantasy elements of this story. Pop culture references, including a years-too-late cameo by Oprah, lend a dated and out-of-touch quality to this otherwise strong plot. In this offbeat ghost story Sarah uses her uncanny haunting abilities, along with some help from her new friends, to make sense of her afterlife and save the day. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is a fun read but it is also slight and shockingly lacking in diversity for a novel that draws its cast from New York City. One note characters with vague motivations further diminish the overall impact of this novel. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall starts with an interesting premise that sadly never realizes its potential. Sheehan's quirky vision of the afterlife ultimately leads to a meandering story with a mixed bag of plot points and an ending that ties things up with a too-neat bow.