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Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  3,659 ratings  ·  430 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, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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❀angela
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...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Andie Z. for TeensReadToo.com

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...more
Sydne
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, al...more
Amal Fadoo
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 th...more
Ellie
Hmm... little weird, little inappropriate. Just like me!
Meredith
Dec 22, 2007 Meredith rated it 5 of 5 stars
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!
Luu
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...more
Chloe
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...more
Valerie
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
Alyssa Balko
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
Lauren
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 on...more
Hannahk
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...more
Cornmaven
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...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.
Steve Duong
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 (altho...more
Sesana
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 Te...more
E
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...more
Lisa the Librarian
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
Steph
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.

Tha...more
Kathryn
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 enli...more
Aurora Hindman
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
Imagine
This story is about a girl's near-death experience, as what was said in the book. While she was in her near-death limbo, she goes through her past memories in which she has to figure out why she was seeing those memories.
This story will make a confused person, a person that is in the middle of figuring out who he/she is, think. It will that teach that person of who you are.

As a personal opinion, this book is wonderful. It added lessons to my personally planned future: what I must do to make th...more
Kellie
Thanks to a dodgeball attack, we get to relive some of the more interesting moments in Tessa's life, based on items that were purchased at different places in the mall. I didn't really like Tessa at all, and reading about the things she did with no real reason for doing them didn't help. However, I enjoyed how each chapter was for a place in the mall and an item that was purchased or taken from there. In that respect, it was a fun read as I started to remember my own mall memories: a jacket I go...more
Lydia
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 :)
Janice

When you think of ways you could die, you never think gym class. You put yourself in some heroic situation. When sixteen-year-old Tessa experiences death by gym class, it wasn’t what she expected, but then neither is heaven which seems like her local mall.

Tessa begins to relive some incidents in her past. Some good, but most not. By looking at them from a distance, Tessa begins to understand the what and the why. Things that will help her answer the question on her college essay, “Who Are You?”

H...more
Miranda
This book was written in free verse poetry. I really liked it! It was one of the best books that I have ever read. I borrowed it from the library, but now I think I want to buy it. I need to read it again.
Sen
I picked up this book about 4 years ago, when I was in the 6th grade. I know, not a very appropriate book for a 12 year old. But, this book has a direct line to how I am as a teenager now, and I have just barley realized this. Not that I have experienced as much as Tessa has, but the way she deals with situations, and how her moral compass is a little off because of certain situations from her past, is exactly how I am now. I re-read this book now as a 16 year old and it hit home. This book will...more
Stephanie
When I read the book, I really didn't like how Tessa acted toward everyone. But the ending made up for it! Cute story.
Chloe

The book, ‘Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall’ written by Wendy Mass is about a high school girl who falls into a coma after an unfortunate gym class accident. But she doesn’t know that. She thinks that because of this accident she’s died and gone to heaven, or in her case, the mall. While in the coma she has a dream where she relives some of the best, and worst moments of her entire life. From being a little girl to being in high school. The main character, Tessa, goes through many things that I...more
Cinnapatty
This was a very interesting book. I've enjoyed the two Wendy Mass books that I've read thus far. This is the third. It was different. Not bad different, just different. Even the format of the entire book is different. It's a thought provoking premise. Tessa is a Jr. in HS and she has a life changing experience as she has a near death experience. She grew up at the mall. A self proclaimed mall brat as both her parents work at the mall. She re lives several experiences from her past through each s...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...
11 Birthdays (Willow Falls, #1) A Mango-Shaped Space Every Soul a Star Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life The Candymakers

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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.” 90 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.” 68 likes
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