Blog tour: The Mall by Megan McCafferty

Blog tour: The Mall by Megan McCafferty

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Megan McCafferty’s The Mall!

First things first I’d like to say a huge thank you to the folks over at Wednesday Books for allowing me to get involved in this blog tour. I’ve been working with them quite frequently this year and it has been a pleasure.

If you’ve been to one of my blog tour stops before you’ll know I always start by sharing the title and synopsis of the featured book before I share my thoughts on it, so let’s dive right in.

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.

Going in I only really knew that The Mall was about, well, a mall, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover a tale of female empowerment, friendship and… Cabbage Patch Dolls?

Within a couple of chapters of this story Cassie’s Plan gets horrendously derailed when she is dumped by her boyfriend, Troy. Before she knows it she’s left her job at America’s Best Cookie to escape from him and has managed to find employment at Bellarosa, her ex-best friend’s family boutique.

Drea Bellarosa is a whirlwind, and she quickly gets Cassie tangled up in a legendary treasure hunt throughout the mall. Both believing that there’s a fortune to be had, the girls rely on their smarts and sexuality to coerce and con various other mall employees to cough up the clues concealed in their stores.

Meanwhile, Cassie seems to be adding a new name to the list of people she’s avoiding every single day. Will the girls be able to find the treasure before Cassie has to avoid the mall for the rest of her life?

While reading The Mall I felt simultaneously too young and too old to enjoy it properly, which is probably the most confusing feeling I’ve had while reading anything this year. Being born in the mid-90s means that although I understood most of the references in this novel (a few were lost in translation from US -> UK) I didn’t feel any overt sense of nostalgia towards them. It did start some pretty fun conversations between me and my partner, though: “Oh my god, do you remember when you could buy cassettes in shops?” “Did you ever watch the 90210 reboot?”. I think if I’d been a couple of years older this might have ended up being a new favourite, but as it was it just made me have a bit of an existential crisis at the fact that YA set in the 90s is now being bandied about as ‘historical’…

That being said, I had a pleasant time reading this. The pace was a bit slow at times and I got frustrated that the treasure hunt kept taking a backseat – I’m a sucker for a treasure hunt! – but I could understand why because Cassie was dealing with a LOT of stuff. Even though this story deals with a teen character going to work every day there is a distinct lack of mundanity.

I liked the developing relationship between Cassie and music store employee Sam Cooke – as a big music fan I always like it when characters bond over their music tastes – but the shining point of this story is the friendship between Drea and Cassie. On the surface they couldn’t be more different: Cassie is buttoned-up and serious while Drea is footloose and fancy free, but throughout the course of the novel we discover different sides of the two characters and they become very realistic. Just because you’re the firecracker daughter of a boutique owner it doesn’t mean you’re an airhead, and just because you’re a serious student it doesn’t mean you can’t live on the wild side (occasionally!).

I ended up giving The Mall a high three stars. As I said earlier, I do think it could have been a new favourite if I’d been a little bit older, so if you were born in the late 80s or very early 90s I’d definitely recommend picking this one up. On the other hand, it’s great for the teens of today: if you wish you’d been born in the era of Nirvana and Robin Sparkles is your favourite How I Met Your Mother character then you will adore this book.

The Mall is available now from Amazon.

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.

I hope you enjoyed my stop on the blog tour for The Mall. See you again soon!