Friday, May 11, 2007

Poetry Friday: Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall

Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall by Wendy Mass. Reviewed from ARC supplied by publisher, Little Brown. Publication date September 2007.

The Plot:
Tessa in in gym class and sees the orange dodgeball approaching. She doesn't duck. BAM. And she finds out that -- heaven looks like the mall? The hell?

A book in verse.

The Good:
Don't be mistaken about Tessa; she's not a mall rat. Well, she is and she isn't. See, her parents both work at the mall, so she's grown up there. And now that she's dead --

OK, this is NOT another one of those dead teenagers and their post-death lives books. For one thing, Tessa is not dead; not yet. She's in a coma. Whether or not she wakes up depends on what she learns about her life so far.

And how will she learn it? A trip down memory lane; or rather, a trip thru the mall. Tessa reflects on what she's bought at the mall in her lifetime, starting with her first pair of shoes and ending with her Junior Prom dress; and her actions and choices related to each item. And by the end, we find out why, when Tessa saw that ball coming -- she didn't dodge.

I like Tessa because in many ways Tessa isn't always likable. Jealousy and the other dark things that lurk in a third grader's heart drives her to steal her best friend's purple gel pen -- and Tessa gets away with it. It seems her life is a series of bad choices, some found out, some kept hidden. Why are these the events she is revisiting? And why does she view her life by looking at the bad? This book is about how we view our own history; what choices we make, including why we make them.

Another thing: the fonts on the cover? The fonts of the names of mall stores.

A bit of one of the poems; as background, a birthday party, a magician, and two girls have just made fun of a young Tessa.

Lord & Taylor
And before I can think,
the Hawaiian Punch I am holding just happens
to slip out of my hand and on top of Hailey's head,
and I probably won't get invited
to any more birthday parties for a while,
which is fine by me because I know
it's impossible to pull a flower
out of someone's ear.

Today's round up is at HipWriterMama.

Bildungsroman/ Little Willow interview with author
A Year of Reading reports on a Wendy Mass talk
oracle review
teen reads too author interview
edited to add: Reading Rants review


Cheryl Kobe said...

A new book by fabulous author Wendy Mass. I'm following your link to Amazon right now to pre-order. Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

She pretty much had me with the title. Great review - thanks!

Little Willow said...

I am very much looking forward to this book. Wendy's written great things, and I have high hopes for her first foray into the world of verse novels.

I like the cover's imagery - the escalator moving into the clouds - and I wish they employed fewer fonts for the title.

Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a Great Blog!

Ann Clemmons

Anonymous said...

Well, how totally fascinating. I can't wait to check this out...
Thanks for the review.