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Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  4,844 Ratings  ·  529 Reviews
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 ab ...more
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Little, Brown Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 13, 2014 ❀angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, romance, young-adult
After being hit by a dodgeball, Tessa finds herself at the mall (she's in a coma and so her subconscious generates the environment she's most familiar with). Tessa is given a shopping bag filled with items from the mall, items that each represent an experience that has shaped her. She is instructed to watch and analyze each memory so that she can find the answer to her Question.

Tessa is extremely flawed—she lies and cheats and steals. I do not condone Tessa's actions, but I find it ridiculous w
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
Wendy Mass lived in my town (I'm not sure if she still does) so when I was in middle school, she came to our school library once to sign books and answer questions about the writing process. I got a free copy of this book, read it, and wondered, "Is this what teenagers are like? Will I be this way when I'm a teenager? Getting drunk and making out with people and just generally being reckless?"

Nope. As it turns out, Tessa just makes really terrible decisions. And I turned out to be the type of t
Sydne Tursky
May 23, 2012 Sydne Tursky rated it it was ok
To begin with, the premise of this book was intriguing. A girl goes to heaven, but it looks like the mall? What? But then it turns out she's just in limbo, which makes a bit more sense. In that sense, the book could've been so, so good. But then Tessa happened. Tessa is the main character, and in the beginning she is quite likable. However, whenever she starts to relive some of the memories living up to her death, the book starts to decline. Everyone makes mistakes, but Tessa did things that, ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Andie Z. for

When 16-year-old Tessa sees the orange dodgeball flying at her from across her high school gym, it never even occurs to her to duck. Soon after, she finds herself floating towards heaven, which looks just like the mall where her parents work and where she has spent a good deal of her life.

She is led to the Lost and Found, where she is given a bag of items: items that she has taken home from the mall during her lifetime, and each item takes her on a journ
Amal Fadoo
Jun 02, 2013 Amal Fadoo rated it it was amazing
Heaven looks a lot Like the Mall is about a girl, Tessa, who is about to go to college and is writing her essay. She is asked the question, who are you? She isn't quit sure who she is. One day, while playing dodgeball in gym class, she gets hit in the face with the ball and falls into coma. While she is in her coma, she ends up at the mall. She was raised as a child in the mall because her parents worked for the mall. She meets this boy who takes her to the locker rooms and shows her a bag of ...more
Jul 07, 2009 Ellie rated it liked it
Hmm... little weird, little inappropriate. Just like me!
Dec 22, 2007 Meredith rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teens
When Tessa gets knocked into a coma by a rogue dodgeball, she has a near-death experience in her local mall. Guided by a druggie kid with a drill bit stuck in his head, she relives a number of memories, forcing her to look inside herself and decide whether or not she likes what she sees. I thought this book was both hilarious and insightful. The protagonist's honest and sarcastic narrative is easy to enjoy and identify with. Pick it up, it's a quick and excellent read!
Apr 22, 2010 Chloe rated it it was amazing
Why I choose this book: NOT IRP.

I chose this book because I really like the author Wendy Mass. She worte many books that I have enjoyed. I realy like the way she describes things. She really uses her 5 senses when she is discribing the seting and also the characters are so well detialed. You can even really see them in your head when you are reading.

Independent Reading Project: 4/22/10

This is a story about a girl named Tessa who gets in an accident in gym class. This accident makes her have to
Jan 23, 2013 Tahmid added it
Tessa Reynolds is finishing up her junior year of high school. She's just had a humiliating experience at the prom, and she's constantly struggling with her weight and her obsessive mother. When she sees a dodgeball zooming toward her head in gym class, she doesn't bother to duck. As she falls to the gym floor she finds herself in heaven that looks a lot like the mall, well at least what she thinks is heaven and where she spends most of her free time over the years. Tessa's not very athletic so ...more
Mar 19, 2008 Valerie rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Well, this book was no A Mango-Shaped Space (the other book that I've read and enjoyed by Wendy Mass/the inspiration for reading this one). To start, it was written in poetry form, which was OK, but I've seen done better (see Sonya Sones). Also, the premise of the book was walking a fine line between being something that could have really worked, or sucked. Unfortunately, I think it fell more toward the "sucked" side. It didn't suck completely, mind you - but it was definitely on the "suck" side ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Hannahk rated it really liked it
Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall
Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall is an amazing, unique novel about 16 year-old Tessa, who has a near-death experience and goes to a place that seems like heaven, but looks identical to her local mall. When someone, who seems to be her spirit guide comes to help her, her whole life story begins to replay as her spirit guide brings the memories flooding back to her. Tessa goes through each and every memory of everything she bought at the mall and when. The items b
Kniha vo veršoch, pri ktorej by ste si to ani nevšimli, keby to nebolo v popise napísané. Veršované knihy majú takú svoju neopísateľnú náladu a poetiku, táto kniha sa číta úplne ako súvislý text. Len akoby autorka svoje vety náhodne rozhádzala do strof.

Hlavná hrdinka Tess sa ocitá v kóme a musí si zrekapitulovať svoj doterajší život. V tomto svojom stave sa jej duch/duša prechádza v obchodnom dome a zo začiatku to vyzerá, že všetky spomienky budú s obchodným domom nejako súvisieť, ale kým dôjde
Steve Duong
Jan 24, 2010 Steve Duong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-picture-201
Young Teen books don't get better then this! I just finished this over the course of a couple hours but I still feel I haven't fully absorbed everything that this book has to offer. I am going to pick this book up with full alacrity but not before handing this to my little sister. I don't know why I love this book so much but it probably has something to do with the anecdotes of micro crystallizing moments that Tessa lives. I loved the story in every way I loved moments, I love the ending ...more
Suzanne Dix
A fast, free verse novel about a girl who needs to come to terms with the fact that she is not a very good person. An interesting premise (Tessa is able to self-analyze her past mistakes while in a coma) and offers an uplifting ending.

Sex and underage drinking are frequently mentioned so this is best grade 8 and up. I'm going to move this one from my middle school section to Teen.
Becky Schroeder
Dec 31, 2014 Becky Schroeder rated it really liked it
Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall was like a book I have never read before. The novel was written in verse form, which I really liked, and the time kept changing, which kept it interesting. The book starts off with Tessa getting hit in gym class with a dodge ball that puts her in a coma. While she is in a coma, her mind takes her to where she spent most of her time- the mall where her parents work at. Tessa then meets Nail Boy, a nickname she gave the boy, who takes her on a tour of the mall. She ...more
Ula Pranevicius
Dec 01, 2014 Ula Pranevicius rated it really liked it
The book Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall is very interesting. It is written in a poetry form and the time keeps changing. It goes from present to past, and to an imaginary time. But the author does this flawlessly so it all makes sense. This book is not only interesting for how it is written but what it is about. In this book you get the whole story of a girls life. Her whole lifetime is put in one book which is very fun to read. The book is also about family, friends, school, boys, peer ...more
Dec 07, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass was a really interesting read. I enjoyed the book, but I felt lost and confused at different points while reading it. Throughout the book there are questions that need to be answered - but no one knows what those questions are. At times there are ghost figures that come into the book and you don't understand why until the last few pages of the book. This wasn't the kind of book you could pick up and put right back down. I had to read this book in ...more
Alyssa Balko
Oct 02, 2014 Alyssa Balko rated it really liked it
I thought that “Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall,” was a really great book! It created a lot of imagery in my head! Whenever I read it, I always wanted to read more, because it was so interesting. I was surprised that it was so good, because I had never heard of it before. I would definitely recommend the book to the teenage audience, because it was really good, even though it had some weird and disgusting parts. I thought the title was a little misleading, because it wasn’t really about heaven, ...more
Feb 22, 2009 Cornmaven rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ms-hs
This was a quick read, because of the prose-verse style, and because I couldn't put it down. Would make a wonderful HS girl book discussion book - dig into the whys of the protagonist's actions, or whether we can even discern why she does what she does throughout her life.

I know kids like her, but not to this degree. The holes that exist in her psyche are what drive her, and that needs to be discussed. The concept of running through her life via mall purchases or gifts was interesting and very c
What an interesting premise. Tessa has been downed by a dodgeball, and now she's having her near-death experience, which for her means reliving key moments of her life. And for her, the daughter of two lifelong mall workers, it all revolves around the mall. For me, a novel in verse like this works best when the voice of the narrating character is strong. And they don't come much stronger than Tessa. The pieces of her life we see, while often hilarious, are also often horribly embarrassing for ...more
Lisa the Librarian
Mar 05, 2009 Lisa the Librarian rated it liked it
I really did not get
the point of using a free verse
style of writing to tell
the story of a girl

who is injured in a freak
dodge-ball incident
and finds herself in the mall
where she practically grew up...
since both of her parents
work in the mall

Tessa gets the rare
opportunity to examine her life
we discover
along with her that
she is not always likable
and does not always
make good choices.

Overall I thought it
a bit odd
Jun 26, 2012 Lydia rated it it was amazing
I went back and changed my review of this book from a 4 to a 5 because I found it on my mind the next day and I still find that there are passages that I continue to share with my daughter a few days later. I want to re-read this book and add it to my collection so I am adding a star :)
Sep 11, 2015 Bella rated it it was amazing
Great book so descriptive you feel like your actually there when its all happening.
Maddy M
Mar 19, 2015 Maddy M rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sydney Bartel
Oct 20, 2015 Sydney Bartel rated it did not like it
Personal Response:
I personally thought that this book was very boring. To me, the book was good during the first couple pages, but went downhill from there. I found all of the flashbacks she was having throughout the book extremely boring. I was struggling to finish reading it. I think I wasn't that into the story because I found it really hard to relate to the main character. Every memory that the book told us about was of depressing moments in her life. She spent almost all of her time dwellin
In the interest of full disclosure, I picked this book up because it was a novel in verse and because my youngest sister read and liked it (it’s rare to find her with a book that’s not manga). I probably wouldn’t have read this on my own, since this sounds suspiciously like The Lovely Bones and If I Stay, neither of which I enjoyed. So there you have it.

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall is a really short book, and it’s extremely easy to read. Mass’s poetry reads like very juvenile prose—maybe som
May 05, 2014 Steph rated it really liked it
Basically, it's the story of It's a Wonderful Life but non-Christmasy and without much depth.

When Tessa gets hit in the head in gym class, she winds up thinking back to many memories in her past. Each memory (chapter) is represented by the name of a store in the mall, of which I absolutely loved the idea.

I also like that Tessa is a pretty average girl who has done some awful things, just like we all have, and even if she got away with them at the time, many of these things still haunt her.

Mar 14, 2014 Kathryn rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, poetry
This is a novel in verse that has no purpose in being a novel in verse, and writing issues can be found in abundance. First of all, there’s no arc to the narrative voice. That might seem like a strange statement, but this book starts with a teenage narrator who then reverts back to childhood in a near-death experience. While it is all told in present tense, there is no difference in the narrative voice from before her accident at 17 to when she is a toddler to when she is again 17 after her ...more
Mar 25, 2014 E rated it it was amazing
For my third independent reading project I chose, "Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall" by Wendy Mass. This book was amazing! I finished this 225 page book in two days! That’s a record for me.

"Heaven Looks A Lot Like the Mall" is about Tessa. She’s a 16 year old girl who got hit in the head by a dodge ball and sent her into a deep coma. While in her coma she is in a lonely mall by herself. While she was in the mall a boy came up to her and handed her a bag of things. He then disappears into thin ai
Aurora Hindman
Sep 17, 2014 Aurora Hindman rated it it was amazing
The novel Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass describes the story of a girl who is near-death while she reflects on her life choices. The story starts out with sixteen-year-old Tessa getting hit with a dodgeball and going to what she believes is heaven, but this “heaven” looks a lot like her hometown mall. She then meets an injured boy who won’t tell her if she’s actually dead or not. She suddenly starts to relive a lot of her life, including all of her terrible choices and moments ...more
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Wendy Mass is the author of six novels for young people, including A Mango-Shaped Space (which was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award by the American Library Association), Leap Day, the Twice Upon a Time fairy tale series, and Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, which earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly magazine. Her most recent book is Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall. Wendy wrote ...more
More about Wendy Mass...

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“I'm going to tell you a secret. Our lives are shaped by the future, not by the past. Once you decide how you want your life to be, all you need to do is live into that future.” 102 likes
“I bet if you go through the rest of your life telling yourself, "I'm sparkling," you'll have a whole different energy and experience.” 81 likes
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