I think I’ve talked about The Mall before it released and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. The audiobook was on Scribd and when I saw it there I was really excited. I wasn’t a teenager in the 90s, but I remember going to the mall and loving it. So did this book live up to my expectations? Keep on reading to find out!
New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.
The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans…
Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.
“In six weeks, I’d be packing up all my stuff and getting the hell out of Pineville. But until then, my life at The Mall would really, really suck.”
The Mall was a book that brought back a lot of memories. I was only 3 in 1991, but a lot of the references were around during my childhood. I loved reading the references about different TV shows, products (mix tapes, cabbage patch dolls) and stores I haven’t thought about in years. This book really really made me feel some nostalgia for my visits to the mall as a teenager in the early 2000s. Going to the mall with friends was often a highlight of the week. I do wonder if the generation this book is meant for will get all of the pop culture references, but I think it will be a fun read for them as well.
This book is more than just pop culture references and a walk down memory lane. The main character Cassie isn’t having the summer she’s expecting. Working at the mall with her boyfriend of two years was the plan. That changed when she got mono and later found out Troy was cheating on her. Showing her face in the mall isn’t something she can do now. I loved listening to Cassie’s brainstorming on what she would do now that plans changed. I definitely laughed out loud a few times.
In many ways The Mall is a story of self discovery for Cassie. Her life is about to change in a big way, because she’s off to college at the end of the summer. Other things in her life start to change and this really makes her think. Cassie makes mistakes, discovers new things about the people in her life and herself. Things don’t go right off the bat, but she learns from it and it gives readers a laugh here and there. Seeing her transform during the summer was a really interesting aspect of this story.
The Mall is also cheesy in many ways, but definitely in a good way. I loved all the drama in the mall and how at times it was completely over the top. At first I didn’t really understand the treasure hunt aspect in this story, but it definitely added some fun moments. Add some interesting side characters and a little romance and this turned out to be a fun summer read!
The Mall was definitely a fun book and hearing all the 90s references. It was a fun walk down memory lane. It wasn’t everything I expected, but I definitely want to read more by this author. If you’ve read anything by Megan McCafferty and have a recommendation what I should read next, let me know in the comments!