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Secrets of the Shopping Mall

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  291 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Trying to escape the vicious King Kobra gang and a troubled life at home, eighth graders Barnie and Teresa flee the city. With only four dollars between them, they hop a bus, hoping to find a new life at the end of the line. Destination: Paradise Park. But Paradise Park turns out to be a cement-covered suburban shopping mall--not quite the paradise they had hoped for.

Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by Yearling (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 464)
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Feb 07, 2008 Tatiana rated it liked it
Shelves: do-not-own, childrens
oh man, another random jogged memory. what's great is that i read the description of this book and it didn't ring a bell at all. maybe because i don't remember how they got to the mall, but i remember them at the mall. and the mannequins. and the mannequin war with the skater punks. crazy. not as artsy as the mixed up files, but hey, who didn't wander around a store or mall when they were little and figure out how they could live there. no? when you walked into banks did you take note of the sec ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a YA writing class recently, and one of the other students mentioned that this had been her favorite book as a teen. Maybe that got my hopes up too high, but I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

I love the premise of two kids running away from home to live in a shopping mall (I think every kid has dreamed of doing that at some point), and the cover image on my old paperback copy (two grayish mannequins about to pounce on unsuspecting kids) is wonderfully creepy, but the stor
Aug 18, 2008 Karin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10-15 yr olds
My brother and I were always allowed to choose our own reading.....a nosy neighbor who used to look after us in the evenings got her hands on this. Took it to my mom and tried to get me in trouble for reading books "inappropriate" for my age. (I think I was about 11 or 12). Story is about two pre-teen kids who escape their inner city lives and leave their gang ridden school to go and live in the mall. I guess neighbor lady felt they weren't good role models, being drop-outs and all. This was a G ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Therese rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
These unloved kids run away to live in a shopping mall (apparently before they used wire grates to cover the individual stores at night and before security cameras. And guards...apparently). Haven't you ever wondered what it would be like? Turns out really cool, but not what you'd expect. Also, you're not alone.
Aug 21, 2015 Inas rated it really liked it
I found this book lying around my house a few months ago and I thought I'd make it less lonely and add it to my bookshelf keeping in mind that I would eventually get to it in the future but still it didn't seem like it fitted with the type of books that I usually read and enjoy and also the synopsis didn't really strike me as very interesting and so I never thought about picking it up.
However, recently, I made a TBR jar of all the books that I have on my bookshelf and that I haven't read yet and
Jul 23, 2009 J.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This was a favorite of mine as a child, and I just reread it for probably the fourth or fifth time. The story is about two loners, Teresa and Barnie, who forge an unlikely friendship when they find themselves the target of a bully's rage. Afraid of retribution, they hop on a bus and run away, only to end up at a local shopping mall. The two decide to hide in a fancy department store after the mall closes and spend the night sneaking around, eating out of the deli area, and avoiding the night wat ...more
Oct 02, 2010 Kerith rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
Of all the authors I've met, Richard Peck is the only one I personally disliked. I remember reading this book as a kid. Two middle schoolers run away and live at the shopping mall -- a fairly interesting scenario I guess -- some of the pop culture references date it (Battlestar Galactica is mentioned, and it's not the recent version!) and it is not a hopeful story. Reading it as an adult I can see Richard Peck's lovely attitudes toward schools and the people who work for them shining through, ha ...more
Maya Rock
Jul 19, 2007 Maya Rock rated it really liked it
I like finishing off with a book I actually like, SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL.

In this book two teenagers who are total losers, run away and live in the mall. One of them pretends she works in the mall. I forget what the other one does. Anyway they get in conflicts with a whole teenage gang that also lives in the mall. In the end, they achieve victory and the best part is they KEEP IMPERSONATING THESE PEOPLE (the boy I remember now impersonates an exec's son) AND STAY IN THE MALL.

Aug 03, 2007 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: childhood
As a child, my favorite genre was Kids Getting Up To Mischief In Places Where Kids Probably Should Not Be: children in museums/libraries/shopping malls overnight, runnin' around and causin' trouble, occasionally encountering easily-solved mysteries. (See also: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library.)
Sep 04, 2014 Trina rated it it was ok
Not the best Peck book, but with a title like that, I was interested. I think it was an extension of a short story he wrote, in which a short boy and a tall girl make friends and run away from home to get away from a gang, only to live in a shopping mall where an uptown gang lives indoors and a no-as-uptown gang lives outside the mall and they come to a clash.
Kressel Housman
Aug 21, 2008 Kressel Housman rated it liked it
Not my favorite Richard Peck book, but a great concept. Two runaway teens make a home for themselves in the shopping mall, blending in with the shoppers by day and hiding out from the security guards at night. Then they discover that they're not the only ones. . .

As I said, it's not my favorite Richard Peck, but there's a delicious Luna-like character in it!
Sep 11, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
I've read this book over & over because the story is so vivid yet unrealistic. I had it until probably 2006, when I sold 3/4ths of my books. Ultimate urban fantasy with great characters. Good for kids 4th grade plus. Crystal was my favorite secondary character.
Michael Lawing
Aug 11, 2014 Michael Lawing rated it really liked it
Shelves: found-at-work
I saw the cover of the 1979 Dell printing and had to read it. It looked campy, and didn't reflect the real plot.

The book is definitely not the greatest plot, but presents a unique take on both the survival-in-a-mall and kids-as-adults genres.
May 24, 2013 Magda rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, own, adventure
Peck is amusing and strange as ever, with a little thought-provokingness included, but not too much to make this more than a light read. The middle was a bit surreal.
Jun 18, 2008 Courtney rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books from my early teen years.
I still imagine scenes from it most times I'm in the mall.
Apr 20, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
the title of this book is called secrets of the shopping mall . the author is by richard peck. the cons/ challenges of this book is beause they had to struggle so much to get out of king kobra gang and the troubles in they home and to get out of paradise park so they can be free.
this book is very special beause is talks about children leaving her really home and they go to another place that itsn't home . the pro/likes is 5 out of 5.
plot is Trying to escape the vicious King Kobra gang and troubl
Mark Holtzclaw
Mar 24, 2014 Mark Holtzclaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since watching the original "Dawn of the Dead", I've often wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a shopping mall. This book explores that theme through the genius of Richard Peck.
Feb 02, 2015 Tam rated it really liked it
Nostalgia read; I originally read this about 30 years ago and was enthralled. Very dated now, but still a fun book to revisit.
Mar 10, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Reading down the list I never got to when I was a kid. This was MESSED UP.
Oct 03, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I read this book back when I was an early teen & loved it. I still read it again from time to time. Probably not easy to find anymore but worth looking for if you enjoy YA books. This is a book that will stay in my rotation. It's been over 5 years since my last read (it was in my attic) so I will have to update again after my next read!
May 21, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This was an odd book about two outsider kids who run away from home to try to survive in the mall. They soon discover that the mannequins come alive at night and hold meetings. Eventually there is a war between the mannequin gang ang the skater kids in the parking lot. Weird but well written. I enjoyed it alot as a kid.
Apr 21, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On my list of top ten favorite kid books. I really should actually create this list instead of filing it in my mind. There's probably about 30 books on it. Anyhow, an awesome fantasy rooted in reality and it's still fresh today. Am gratified my 11 year old read and loved it.
Noah L
Nov 14, 2011 Noah L rated it really liked it
I thought this book was interesting. It turns in to kids running away trying to get somewhere where they are alone but in the end it turns out they are not even close to being alone. Well I wouldnt want to spoil the story for you so go ahead and read it yourself.
Nov 22, 2012 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice and creepy book because they live in the mall and they have to live off what they can find. I liked this book because it was suspenseful and creepy and funny at the same time. I normally don't like creepy books, but this book is good.
Stephanie A.
Who among us hasn't had a childhood fantasy of living in the mall? It's a microcosm of the world, you can find all your needs there!

Caution: this book's subtitle should read "How to Make Mannequins Even Creepier."
Apr 28, 2012 Jetgirl8 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books growing up! I was so excited to find out that I wasn't the only one who remembers this little gem! Thanks to this book though, I'm still wary of mannequins...;)
Dec 06, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
I read this book waaaaaay back in the day. I loved it. I think I may have to look into reading it again, because parts of it are fuzzy, but I remember how much I enjoyed reading it.
Jun 06, 2007 Snarky's rated it really liked it
I have such a soft spot for this book. It's been a while since I've read it and I'm trying to remember all the little fun details. I might have to add this to my "to read" list.
Nov 17, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
found this at a yard sale for a quarter, read it while sitting in a chair at the beach about 10 feet from the Gulf of Mexico. It was a great read even though I'm adult.
Sep 13, 2014 Betty rated it really liked it
I couldn't remember the name of this book, but I remembered it from my childhood. So glad I stumbled upon it in the list of Best Books of the 20th Century.
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Richard Peck is an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.

Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois, a town he describes as quiet and safe. His mother, Virginia, was a dietitian and his father, Wayne, was a merchant who often rode his Harley Davidson to work.

More about Richard Peck...

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