Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Missed This Floor At MOA!

I loved, Loved, LOVED this book! It's kinda paranormal given that all the main characters are dead and currently residing on a special floor of the Mall of America. (Next time I'm there, I'm going to have to put my ghost sensing radar on high alert! Ha!) I love the idea of taking a look at the place and happenings where dead people go to get acclimated to death, process the life they just left, take care of unfinished business, and then "move on" to whatever comes next.

I enjoyed the characters SO much! I think it is fun and refreshing to read something intended for a YA audience and this book certainly was both fun and refreshing. (Even though everyone is dead. Go figure.) In addition to Sarah and her fellow recent arrivals, I really found it fun and a great addition that Sheehan included Alice, one of the mall walkers who has been there for decades and wakes up to join the newbies. Alice lends a certain historical depth to the story which I appreciated.

I enjoyed the inclusion of Harry too. Although he was "killed," his death by euthanasia was different than the experience of outright murder experienced by all the others. This lent a different note to the story as well and gave Harry's unfinished business a different note than his comrades. I would like to ask Sheehan if in this book's universe only those who sustained traumatic death situations come to this location after death? Or if there might also have been people who simply died from illness or age? I guess it just made me curious.

I have to say, I love the idea that in the after life you can eat whatever you want and it has no effect on weight or health! The mall food court setting is perfect for that!

If you've been to the MoA, then you know that you can find anything and everything there. So it would seem there is no better place to hang out while "processing" things following life. I giggled numerous times at the interaction between the main characters and the living mall visitors. I have been to the amusement park and have been on the rides. I've sat in Lego land while my kids played with the Legos. I've eaten there. Seen shows there. Walked countless laps around every floor. I've seen the mall walkers. The struggling, tired parents. The teens out socializing. The people on dates. Even a Klingon or two. If you have ever been there, you will get an extra kick out of the snippets of humor Sheehan includes that are part of the story simply thanks to the setting.

I hope you will grab a copy of this fun, refreshing book and enjoy it as much as I did! Thank you to Sheehan and Delacorte Press for the ARC I received in exchange for this honest review.

From the Publisher . . .

When Sarah wakes up dead at the Mall of America, she learns that not only was she murdered, her killer is still on the loose. I WOKE UP DEAD AT THE MALL is a terrifically fun & voicey YA novel that tackles some of life’s – and the afterlife’s – biggest questions.

When you’re sixteen, you have your whole life ahead of you. Unless you’re Sarah. Not to give anything away, but . . . she’s dead. Murdered, in fact. Sarah’s murder is shocking because she couldn’t be any more average. No enemies. No risky behavior. She’s just the girl on the sidelines.

It looks like her afterlife, on the other hand, will be pretty exciting. Sarah has woken up dead at the Mall of America—where the universe sends teens who are murdered—and with the help of her death coach, she must learn to move on or she could meet a fate totally worse than death: becoming a mall walker.

As she tries to finish her unfinished business alongside her fellow dead teens, Sarah falls hard for a cute boy named Nick. And she discovers an uncanny ability to haunt the living. While she has no idea who killed her, or why, someone she loves is in grave danger. Sarah can’t lose focus or she’ll be doomed to relive her final moments again and again forever. But can she live with herself if she doesn’t make her death matter?

About the Author . . .

The first thing to know about Judy is that she is the tenth of twelve children. Upon learning this fun fact, many people need or want to know certain statistics about her family of origin, so here goes: The age range of the children is twenty-one years from oldest to youngest. There are eight boys and four girls. There is one set of twins. There is one mother and one father. The family house had seven bedrooms, but only one bathroom. Today, Judy has one child, and is actively considering the installation of a second bathroom in her home.

Judy started life wanting to be a writer, but found herself distracted by the fun and drama of local theater. She studied acting and made a brief, but valiant effort to be an actress. She was one of the original cast member/creators of the long-running hit, TONY N’ TINA’S WEDDING. This adventure led to a handful of commercials, a few other projects and the revelation that she was simply not meant to be an actress. Full stop.

Playwright was the next logical role for Judy, who was lucky enough to serve as the playwright-in-residence at New York’s prestigious Looking Glass Theatre, which produced her plays every season. Productions have included WHAT TO DO ABOUT NOTHING, A CAROLE CHRISTMAS and APHRODITE’S DUNGEON, among many others. She collaborated with Kenneth Nowell to create a series of musicals for children: I WAS A 9-YEAR OLD BLUES DIVA, I HATE SPINACH, as well as the work-in-progress, I’M SO INCREDIBLY BORED.

Meanwhile, Judy managed to reach beyond Manhattan to infiltrate the heartland with her play, ALICE IN IRELAND. It has been produced all over the United States, winning the Reva Shiner Full-Length Play Contest, and the Siena College International Playwrights’ Competition. The play was also chosen by the Kalamazoo Gazette as the #1 Critics’ Pick for 1999. Her play, BRIGHT GIRLS, STUPID LIVES, was a critical and popular success in Portland, OR where it was nominated for a Drammy Award. Judy wrote the popular MURDER AT WATERLOO for historic Waterloo Village. The initial run proved so successful, the play has returned for three subsequent productions.In September, 2000, Judy traveled to China and adopted a baby girl. Along with motherhood, came sleep deprivation and a drastic reduction in Judy’s ability to attend rehearsals in the city or anywhere else. By all common sense, the overwhelming task of raising a child should have brought an end to Judy’s ability to write anything at all. But if you’ve been reading closely, you’ll see that common sense hasn’t applied very well so far. Judy found herself writing more than ever—she just had to wait until the baby was asleep.

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