Sheehan, Judy I Woke Up Dead at the Mall, 278 pgs. Penguin Random House, 2016. $17.99. Language: PG13 ( 57 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: R (teen sex talk and nearly on page acts); Violence: PG13 (murders).
Sixteen-year-old Sarah is dead. She was at her dad’s wedding, felt sick, and woke up dead at the Mall of America. It wasn’t food poisoning after all, apparently, Sarah was murdered, but who would want to kill her? The Mall of America hosts the afterlife of a group of teen murder victims (and lots of other dead spirit who walk the mall) as they work through their end of life issues and decide whether or not to dwell on the past, or “let it go” and move on to another life, or something else. When Sarah figures out that her father is also in danger of being murdered, she along with two friends, convince the Boy (Boss of You) to let them have 1 day to haunt to see if they can resolve their issues.
This romance/mystery/ghost story was a lot more serious that I expected. There were references to historical tragedies (Bertha seems to have died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire), a careful circumventing of religion - sort of - with a Boss instead of a God who can appear as everything from children to Oprah to an ancient Bible prophet, and some bad teenage behavior (both by the living and the dead). The characters were pretty stereotypical (the cancer kid, the bratty rich girl, the handsome yet stupid actor) a lot of the swearing was unnecessary and there was too much sex talk for me to comfortably put this one in my middle school library, but high school girls may enjoy the romance. Not much of a mystery to solve, it’s pretty obvious right from the beginning.
HS - OPTIONAL Lisa Librarian