Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall ~ Wendy Mass review

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall
Little, Brown Young Readers
256 Pages
November 1, 2008
Paperback

I forgot this was written in verse when I first checked it out of the library-I just remembered that I had looked at it at B&N but not bought it for some reason. I'm pretty sure this is the first novel written in verse that I've read.

Now, onto the review: Tessa doesn't duck when the dodgeball comes flying at her head in gym class. Instead she thinks about how her thighs look in her gym shorts, Ashlee Simpson lyrics flit through her mind...but she doesn't duck.

She doesn't duck and she wakes up in the mall. Or what looks a lot like the mall where both of her parents work and where she's spent countless hours of her life. Just like A Christmas Carol, she's going to need a guide, of course: enter Nail Boy.

As the story progresses the stores in the 'mall' are used to teach Tessa lessons through different stories of her past. Each chapter title is a store name.

I'm going to be honest right now: I didn't particularly like this book. It wasn't that I exactly disliked it, I just didn't really like Tessa. I understand that she's supposed to be an imperfect character and that the little tales of each chapter are supposed to show her (and us) the wrong decisons she's made in life and why she's who she is, but I just didn't like her.
I thought she was ditzy and kind of stupid and the things she did growing up/through the book became more than 'learn from them' things. She was the kid that if you found out what she was doing not only would you not be friends with her, you'd want to tell on her because she didn't really have a good reason-she was just a bad, jerky kid.

(See, I didn't like her--she wasn't sympathetic for me.)
The choices of the 'events' in the book were interesting, though...like in 13 Reasons Why (but for very different reasons) it's shown how random, seemingly insignificant events can really impact things. There's also one particular thing that I thought fit in the book very well and was also the first time I've seen it in a book yet and I'm glad that it was used (because I believe it fit--but I'll keep it a secret, it's a real world event so if you read it, you'll know).

The other thing I couldn't stand: Nail Boy? Yeah, he had a drill bit in his head. A drill bit looks like a screw so if you want Tessa to not know it's a drill bit, then at least let her call it a screw--but not a nail because a nail is smooth, straight up and down. (And maybe she could have gotten that wrong, but because she could not have, screw would have been a compromise, right?)

So, for the book...it was well written, the stories worked out well and the whole mall as a sort of heaven idea is really interesting....but I just can't get past really not liking the main character.

6/10

Bookworm Readers' review (she liked it more)

PhotobucketConversations with My 13-Year-Old Self ~ Pink
After the Afterlife ~ Chad VanGaalen
Lonesome Day ~ Bruce Springsteen

2 comments:

  1. Haha, nice review. You made the book sound like what Five People You Meet In Heaven might be like if written by Sonya Sones. Except Sonya's novels-in-verse are so much better.

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  2. I liked Tessa for the same reasons you didn't, but I totally get why you didn't. Because she was a bad, jerky kid, but I don't think the book let her off the hook for it.

    Like you, I did like the way the events were presented, and I also liked the use of the real world thing you mentioned above.

    Great review.

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