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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,758 ratings  ·  327 reviews
An inspirational memoir of near-death experience, rebirth, divine mercy, and finding faith.

On December 10, 2009, McVea, a thirty-two-year-old mother of four, went to the hospital for a routine procedure. While undergoing treatment, her face suddenly turned a dark shade of blue, then black. Her mother screamed for help, and a nurse tried to revive her…to no avail.

Today, C
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Published April 2nd 2013 by Simon Schuster Audio (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  2,758 ratings  ·  327 reviews

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Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
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 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
Heather Rideout
Jan 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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. ...more
Lindsey Gandhi
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
"Tell them what you can remember" - God

How incredible what it be to hear those words from God? That's exactly what happens to Crystal McVea. She wake up in Heaven and spends 9 of the most glorious minutes of her entire life there. But before she comes back to the land of the living, she gets that command from God. Her story is one you may not believe, for what ever reasons you may not want to believe it. Her story is one that may make you uncomfortable when she lays out just how horrible her lif
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story to remind people that no matter what happens in this life, God still loves us.
Victor Gentile
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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
Linda Watson
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be excellent for those struggling with secrets from abuse in childhood to know that they are loved and their lives can be full and worthy.
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book....the transparency of the author, the detail of her recollection in her Heaven experience, and the facets of her testimony. I will read it again.
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 01, 2014 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
Feb 23, 2014 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 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She broke all ten commandments. She dies and wakes up in Heaven.
The author did wake up in heaven, and she recounts those events, but that is a small part of the book. Much of the story is about her life before and after the event, mainly full of woe before seeing heaven, and her telling others what she'd seen after she came back to life. The thing was, God had told her to "Tell them what you remember." when she returns to life. So she described what she saw and how she felt, but eventually felt
Sandra Strange
A current near death experience story with a very Christian orientation and an inspiring story, this book is the memoir of a girl who grew up with all kinds of horror: sexual abuse, neglect, wild rebellion as a teen, early pregnancy, abortion, marriages. Then just as she is making a stable life for herself with a man who loves her and helps her raise her children in positive ways, as she has made peace with her parents, sh dies and "wakes up in heaven" and has an experience with God that convinc ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable account of a woman who died for nine minutes and walked with God. Filled with an amazing recount, a story of life and pain, and the true gift that has been given.
Crystal never had it easy, from an abusive childhood, troubled teens, the cycle of abused in marriage and upon oneself - feeling unworthy, filled with shame she never knew God - oh, the words were there, but the faith wasn't. She bravely tells her story from the ugly details to the miraculous journey never leaving anything
This is kind of tricky to review.

It's the memoir of a woman who experienced a lot of rough times growing up and did things she regretted. She then had an extraordinary experience where she died and found herself in God's presence. The experience was very interesting to read about.

The rest of her life story has a lot of heart-breaking moments. It's very honest and personal. I think this story will mostly help those who've felt let down by God or ignored by God learn to feel His love. It should b
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible redemptive story that will touch a LOT of lives if it gets publicity. At first, I was bogged down with the details that were shared of brokenness, abuse, etc., but the descriptions of heaven, nudges by God through the Holy Spirit, and the way that God reaches out to the author of this book encouraged and inspired my faith. The details have a point. By far, this is the best account I've ever read of a "life after death/heaven" experience. I was amazed at how God sovereignly ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Devine
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Virginia Welch
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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