Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

Wendy Mass
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.


Reviewed: 2016-08-16

I think the concept of this book is clever. I could see this book being turned into a horror film meant for teenagers with a positive message of: treat others kindly and with respect because you never know when it will be your last day. However, this book was very confusing to me in the beginning. After Tessa sees herself dead on the gym floor from a broken neck, she is taken on this long journey through her life. However, Wendy Mass never tells the reader that she is being taken on a journey. I felt confused as I was reading this, asking myself, is Tessa alive? Dead? In a comma? I wasn't sure for a long time what exactly was happening until I neared the end and realized that she was being taken on a journey to understand the potential of a second chance. However, I do think this book lends itself to some powerful themes, especially for middle school students, however, I jut felt that this book was very unrealistic and I tend to dislike fantasy books in general. However, I think students would like this book and may be able to relate to it in terms of always being your best person.

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