Select one of the keywords
Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall    by Wendy Mass order for
Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall
by Wendy Mass
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall, Wendy Mass's next young-adult novel - after the fun and thought-provoking Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life - is an interesting look at growing up, with a twist. The entire book is written in verse, although the author did refrain from rhyming, which I appreciated.

Tessa is a junior in high school, two weeks from summer, when she is hit on the head by a dodgeball and finds herself in a familiar and yet heavenly environment - the local mall where her parents work. She is approached by a young man with a drill bit sticking out of his head (I'll let you read the entertaining explanation for that one) who vaguely shows her a bag of her most important purchases at the mall. The book continues in short vignettes of Tessa's life, from toddlerhood to her present day, each showing one of her purchases from the bag.

Tessa is an awkward child and a brooding teen. Mass displays Tessa's decisions, good and bad, with her quirky verse and a bit of humor, offsetting the truly depressing situations the girl found herself in. From the charming first stanza, Mass captures reader and transports them into Tessa's head.

'For fifty cents and a Gobstopper
I lifted my shirt for the neighborhood boys.
My older brother Matt caught us
and chased the boys with a Wiffle bat.
Word got around, and at nine years old
I became the girl
other girls' moms
didn't want them to play with.

You will laugh, cringe, and be broken over Tessa's story as you make your way through this quick read. Mass is a truly excellent author and has produced great reads for young adults. Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall is no exception.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews