Title: The Mall
Author: Megan McCafferty
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 28, 2020
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.
The year is 1991. After recovering from a six week long illness of mono, Cassie is ready to start her summer job at a cookie store in the mall before she heads to college in NYC. She arrives for her first day of work with her boyfriend, Troy, only to find him kissing another girl. Her life is flipped upside down, after she loses her job and her life plans with her boyfriend. However, Cassie doesn’t want to tell her parents that she doesn’t have a job anymore. She finds another job at a clothing store with her ex-best friend, Drea. Drea decides to solve a mystery at the mall with Cassie. Cassie and Drea follow clues of Cabbage Patch Kids throughout the mall to find a hidden treasure.
This story was a lot of fun. I loved that it all took place at the mall. I relived so many of my memories of going to malls as a kid in the 90s while reading this book. For kids who don’t know what that atmosphere was like, think of the mall in the third season of Stranger Things. Though there were some devastating parts, like when Cassie discovered her boyfriend cheating on her, there were also some lighter scenes. The absurd treasure hunt using Cabbage Patch Kids was clever and funny at the same time.
One problem with this book is that I don’t think a young adult audience in 2020 will understand all of the references to things from the 80s and 90s. Some of these references include Cabbage Patch Kids, the show 90210, and cassette tapes. I asked my teenage cousin if she was familiar with these things and she had only heard of Cabbage Patch Kids. I didn’t understand the jokes about 90210, even though I was born in the 90s. Though these references aren’t necessarily important to understanding the plot, it could be frustrating and create distance for the young adult reader if they don’t understand the atmosphere of the story.
I really enjoyed this story!
Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli
More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn
About the author:
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.
Have you read The Mall? What did you think of it?