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Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again
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Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,223 Ratings  ·  280 Reviews
Someday soon, one of my precious three-year-old twins is going to ask me the question: Mommy, what happened to you when you died?

Someday they will overhear me telling my story to someone and want to know more about it. They will look at me with their big, innocent eyes and try to make sense of what they're hearing. It isn't always easy explaining what happened even to adul
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Howard Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Apr 22, 2013 Katarzyna rated it it was amazing
I grabbed this book off of a shelf at Target as I was passing by. It looked interesting and I liked the cover. ;) Plus, I was curious to see what another person's experience in Heaven was like. What most of us would expect from such a book is a story of what happened in Heaven and that's it. After all, that is the title. Crystal does discuss her time in Heaven and her encounter with God and angels but in addition she tells the reader the whole story. The story of her life and how she struggled w ...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
"My name is Crystal McVea, and in 2009 I died and went to heaven.

"How is that for an icebreaker?

"I am sharing that story with you, in this book. I knew God's plan for me was to share what happened with as many people as I could. Now, are there people out there who will think I'm a fraud, or a religious nut, or crazy? I'm sure there are. The truth is, I know my story is hard for some people to believe. I know what I went through is beyond the realm of what we can experience on Earth. But I also
Apr 05, 2013 Cafelilybookreviews rated it it was ok
This was an interesting story to read, yet much different than what I expected. The majority of the book focuses on the author's background, and what has happened since her experience. This ended up being more of a memoir which I always enjoy reading. However, readers who are expecting this book to focus mostly on her actual experience in heaven, may be disappointed.
Nicola Mansfield
A heart-wrenching, phenomenal book that tells the story of the life and death and life of a woman who lead a hard, lost life, then encountered God and is now living a joy filled life. Crystal died for nine minutes and went to Heaven and this book is about that, but it is first and foremost about her life prior to that experience, which lead up to the moment of her death. Crystal had a very hard life and always questioned the existence of God. Her life was filled with sexual abuse, absent and neg ...more
Sep 08, 2013 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I had caught the very end of an Anderson Cooper interview with Mrs. McVea, and I wanted to know more about her NDE. I should have taken a moment and used my Goodreads app to read its reviews.

The title is very misleading. God tells the author to share all that she remembers. Apparently, that was only about 20 pages worth since the remaining 200+ pages are Mrs. McVea's testimony. The first half of the book was barely readable. She spent an inordinate amount of energy poi
Jun 24, 2013 Gale rated it did not like it
i like the story when she finally gets around to telling it. its has so many details that are boring or maybe its the way it was read... should have hired a reader. i found it very irritating when she kept making "deals" with god on i know your real if..
also it skipped around and then went back in time and that was irritating. all in all it was hard to listen to and only finished because having a near death experience myself i like to hear the stories.
if you want to listen to the dvd i will give
Nancy Kennedy
May 07, 2013 Nancy Kennedy rated it it was ok
The actual text describing her 9 minutes in heaven is about 10 pages. The other 240 are about the author's sordid life. After a while, I started skipping the pages about her abortions and baby daddies and drugs and stuff (she's trying to make the point of "IF God loves somebody like ME, everybody has a chance!" Well, okay, then.
Heather Rideout
Jan 08, 2014 Heather Rideout rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed with this book. It was, for want of a better word, boring. It's only redeeming quality was that because it lacked depth, it was a fairly quick and easy read. That is to say, no extra time was required to reread, process or ponder anything. This book could have been written in less than a page. Woman has a difficult life - gets abused, has an abortion, eventually sucks it up and makes some positive choices, has a NDE, finds god and then tells everyone about it. The end. ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book
Heather's Review: I truly love near death and death experiences so this audio book was an automatic draw for me. The thing that I was not expecting was the bravery and tenacity of the author in sharing her story over and over again. Not just the story of how she died for nine minutes and came back, but the details of a very sad and troubled life as a child of sexual abuse.

Crystal's memoir, contained in seven CDs, is told in her own voice. It details how being a victim of abuse pulled her into a
May 02, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The best part of this book is the bio of Crystal. It just goes to show that the mistakes made in life develop the person we become and to forgive ones self is to allow healing and growth of character. I hope this book finds its way to people who feel lost and alone in the world. I hope it gives them strength and hope. The parts about heaven are beautiful but breif. This is a story about redemtion and forgiveness.
Victor Gentile
Apr 17, 2013 Victor Gentile rated it it was amazing
Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski in their new book “Waking Up In Heaven” published by Howard Books gives us A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again.

From the back cover: Tell them what you can remember.

On December 10, 2009, Crystal McVea, a thirty-two-year-old mother of four, stopped breathing. Her face turned a dark shade of blue, then black. Her mother screamed for help, and a nurse tried to revive her . . . to no avail. Today, Crystal does not remember what happened in that hospit
May 11, 2013 Trina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there was a half another star I would give it 3.5 because it was a good read. I enjoyed the memoir very much. A story of survival. I really liked the writing was like I was having a casual conversation with a friend. The way the chapters flowed into each other by alternating the past,the present and the "waking up in heaven" was really effective.
What a strong honest woman Crystal is. I believe nothing was exaggerated or embellished in the story. It is very raw and to the fact.
I t
May 24, 2014 Kristen rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This is not the type of book I would normally read, but it was an award winner on one of our state's teen lists, and I try to branch out when I can. That being said...meh.

As an agnostic, I will try to keep my religious skepticism out of my review...except to say that even if I were a true believer, it would take a lot for me to believe someone not only died, went to Heaven, and saw God--but also had experiences with two people possessed by demons, had multiple prophetic dreams, and was eventuall
Dec 12, 2014 Dana rated it liked it
This book is a memoir/testimony of a woman who tells her life story including how she was sexually abused as a child, went through a string of bad relationships resulting in two children born out of wedlock and one abortion, finally finding a good Christian husband, having premature twins and when the twins were 10 months old, her experience of dying in the hospital and coming back to life. She explains how when she was dead, she was in the presence of God and everything was good and how He told ...more
Oct 08, 2013 Kori rated it liked it
Was tempted to give 2 stars instead of three but I really hate to be hard on this book because I feel like Crystal went through a lot in her life and I felt bad for her. I am glad that she is happily married and that her experience helped her finally break free from her past. I really hope her story helps others. Nevertheless, I think her ghostwriter, or editor, or both, really did her a disservice in that I think a lot of people will be disappointed because the book isn't really what it profess ...more
Jun 04, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Crystal was admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Doctors decided she had a problem with her pancreas and needed to stay a few days. It was a complete surprise when she suddenly stopped breathing and basically died. It was nine minutes before she was revived, and not very long after that she began telling anyone who would listen that she'd been to heaven and stood with God. This experience completely changed her life.

I think her book is very well written, highly interesting, and
Feb 23, 2014 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing; I couldn't put it down! I know some people have said that her style of going back and forth between her "standing with God" in heaven and the story of her life was confusing. That didn't bother me at all. It was obvious which she was discussing in each chapter, possibly because I read the book in just a couple of days. What immediately struck me was how she described her time in heaven. Many of the same things she wrote about are things that God has revealed to me in my li ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Sabrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A co-worker of mine suggested I read this book. Now I'm not much of a reader at all. For Christmas my husband bought me a kindle. This was the first book I downloaded to read. I couldn't put it down. This book has touched me in many ways. It has reminded me of God's unfailing love for me. Everyone has a story/testimony to share and I believe when it's the time to tell your story to do it because there is someone who needs to hear it. I had some time's in the book where I laughed about g
Mary Devine
Aug 29, 2014 Mary Devine rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by my sister. I've read several books on near death experiences and heaven, and I found this one most compelling and thought provoking (so far). Crystal is a sinner, like us all, but she bares her transgressions, doubts and vulnerabilities, making herself relatable and her story believable. Virgil sounds too good to be true; wouldn't we all want a husband like the man described on those pages! I thought telling the story more as an autobiographical journey of tran ...more
Jan 30, 2014 Pam rated it it was amazing
This was a gift I received for my birthday a few weeks back.. (Thanks Jenni!) with all the life 'stuff' my family has experienced recently, this came at the perfect time. This is an endearing story about God's never ending love for every single one of us, and how nothing we do here, during our time on Earth, can separate us from His all powerful love. We were each made to be in relationship with Him, created in His perfect image... And this book was a beautiful look at just that.

An easy read tha
Virginia Welch
Sep 01, 2014 Virginia Welch rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down. McVea's story is greatly helped by her association with an award-winning co-author. What I liked:

1. Logical story: beginning, middle, and end
2. Honest voice; she tells the good and bad about herself
3. The consistent sense of candidness throughout the entire tale
4. Story is for Christians and non-Christians alike because of its universal appeal to everyone's desire to know God (if He exists) and get a glimpse into the afterlife
5. But as Crystal admits, a story like this take
Nov 13, 2014 Fira rated it really liked it
this is a great book.rekindling ourselves with our fitrah- the longing for loving God above anything else.

its actually a good tarbiyah book even though its written by a devout christian.

i love this kind of books that inspire people to look above worldly desire, to look for a higher purpose--which is to love God wholeheartedly, without making other things as God in ourselves- money, children, family, friends, anything.

highly recommended to everyone.
Mar 26, 2016 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Awesome must read. A woman, who is questioning God's existence and whether He can truly love her or not goes in for a surgery and dies for 9 minutes. She immediately arrives in heaven and stands in God's presence and feels His love with every fiber of her being and all of her senses. Then she tells the reader of her journey from doubt to blessed assurance. I highly recommend this not only as a good read but as a witnessing tool. includes a reader discussion in the back of the book.
Sally Lindsay-briggs
Oct 04, 2016 Sally Lindsay-briggs rated it it was amazing
A very real, true to life story. It entertained, it made you feel so sorry for her past, horrid life that Crystal lived. She woke up in heaven. She had a wonderful, beyond words experience, then she woke up in the hospital. At that point, everything began to change in her world. This story resonated with the majesty and power of a living God, who helps people help others. It was truly a believer's sonnet.
Cynthia Pavlakovic
May 25, 2013 Cynthia Pavlakovic rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspirational
I picked this book up last night because I needed something to read. It is an extraordinarily written account of not only going to Heaven but of the struggles we all face in our lives. I laughed and cried as I read because I felt and still feel so many of the struggles Crystal describes. It gives hope to continue to persevere and believe! God may not always answer us like we think but we must have faith and believe His plan is perfect. A truly life-changing read!
Rose Rush
Oct 04, 2014 Rose Rush rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
This is a book of redemption. The story is as much about how a women who was sexually and mentally abused was redeemed by her near death experience. She had also had an abortion and with all that she had experienced and done did not believe God was real or could love her. That all changed when she was dead for 9 minutes and was in the presence of the Almighty. Very much worth the read.
Oct 06, 2014 Aurelia rated it it was amazing
This book will make you look at "Love" in a whole new light!

The woman's story is so emotional and tragic, in good ways and bad. I couldn't put this book down, and personally, it gave me everything that I needed to hear and feel. I've recommended to several others who have been in a state of "Spiritual Limbo", in hopes that it did to them what it did to me.
Sep 03, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing

This story was interesting it grabbed my attention. I like how Crystal told how she struggled in her life but no matter what she tried to stay focused. In parts this story can be emotional. I recommend this story to anyone it might inspire you on in life. There is nothing I didn't like.
Sep 27, 2014 Cutacups rated it it was amazing
Love it!
If you are someone who's constantly blaming yourself and in search for God. Then this book is for you! Touching and inspirational. I cried when I read her story.
The first few chapters are her stories, but totally worth it to read till the end. Lovely ending! I cried! Bless you Crystal
May 09, 2016 Pauline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was incredible! I got very emotional at times.
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“When things are hard and miserable, I'd been learning all my life, there's an adventure in there somewhere waiting to happen.” 4 likes
“You don’t have to die and go to heaven. All you have to do to be in God’s presence is choose Him. All you have to do is believe.” 4 likes
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