The Mall, by Megan McCafferty
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Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Length: 320 pages
Times Read: Once
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.
I Was In Love From Page 1: A List With Very Few Books On It
♥ This book is 100% amazing 90’s references all the way through, and I was immediately right back at the Exton Square Mall, 4-9 pm any weekdays that I wasn’t already booked with school activities/extracurriculars. I worked at Trade Secret, and the way Cassie describes the relationships you form while working at the mall rang SO true. There was always a mother figure, like Gia, (Cassie’s boss) who lets you get away with anything. There’s always a really cute guy who’s nothing but trouble and works at the cool store (Lids, when I was a youngster. They sold hats. Is this still a place?). If you’re lucky, there’s also a really cute guy that’s not trouble. (Just kidding, this only happens in books. Mall boys are always trouble).
To my knowledge, the Trade Secret brand has gone bankrupt, which makes sense because the managers were always letting us take home products without paying.
♥ For the first few chapters I kept thinking “This is so fun! I would totally compare it to the Jessica Darling series–the writing is really similar, the descriptions and references are totally on point.”
If you haven’t read these…I don’t know. Please just read these.
Reader, it was then that I realized that The Mall was written by the same author.
♥ Everything Cabbage Patch sounds so fun. We did not have a Cabbage Patch at my mall. We had “play board games lying in the hallway with the store next door when things were dead,” or “go make out in your cars until the very last second that will still get you home by curfew.” And we definitely did not have a Cabbage Patch treasure hunt.
Children, gather ’round. This here is a Cabbage Patch Kid. They all came with a different name and birth certificate so you could adopt them. Because they grew from a cabbage and had no parents.
It was a strange time.
Anyway, the treasure hunt serves as both a way to include more mall stores, more mall employees, and more 90’s.
♥ Honestly, what I’m really curious about is how teens today will relate to this. When I was a teenager, going to the mall was An Event. Especially in suburbia, we could usually be found congregating in the front of the movie theater or at the mall on the weekends. You walked around with your friends, you walked past the stores with the cute guys working and hoped they were checking you out, you had dinner at the food court. Like, maybe you did some shopping, if someone had some birthday money or something. Mostly you were just There.
Is that still a thing? I sort of don’t think so. I get the feeling that the mall is not that cool anymore, and if you have to get something from a store there, you just grab it and go. Is this right? I’d love to be wrong and know that teens are still sitting around the fountain, stuck in the relative safety of the mall until their parents picked them up.
Megan McCafferty writes fiction for tweens, teens and teens-at-heart of all ages. The author of several novels, she’s best known for Sloppy Firsts and several more books in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series. Described in her first review as “Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker” (Wall Street Journal), she’s been trying to live up to that high standard ever since.