Review: I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

woke-up-dead-mallI Woke Up Dead at the Mall
Judy Sheehan
Delacorte Press

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

When Sarah wakes up, still wearing the mango-colored monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress, she is surprised by two things: she’s far from her New York home in the Mall of America, and she’s dead. Murdered. Sarah’s mentor encourages her (and the other teen ghosts who’ve taken up residence in the mall) to let go of her past, but Sarah can’t let go, especially when she learns what happened and realizes someone she loves is still in terrible danger. Now she can’t rest in peace until her murderer has been stopped and her family saved.

The concept of this story might be a bit dark, but the playful, frank voice definitely adds some spunk to the tale. As Sarah’s tale unfolds, she relates to the reader as if recounting an adventure to her closest friends. At the mall, she’s surrounded by a colorful group of teens, each with different pasts and baggage. Sarah’s relationship with them is dynamic and challenges her to go beyond her limits. By contrast, Sarah’s relationships with her family feel a bit cliché and underdeveloped. The story centers around Sarah and her friends, kind of a contemporary teen version of the 1990s film Heart and Souls. Readers looking for a warm-and-fuzzy story about unexpected love and second chances will enjoy the humor and romance of this tale.

find-amazonProfanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used with moderate frequency. One character in particular is a bit mouthy.

Romance/Sexual Content
Mouthy girl relates that she loves sex and the others (who all died as virgins) totally missed out. Not much detail about her particular experiences other than that she had a much more pleasurable experience with one boyfriend over another. She humiliates the latter about his lack of ability and he becomes angry.

Sarah shares kisses and sleeps next to a boy. At one point, she removes her clothes in front of him, but they are interrupted before much happens between them.

Spiritual Content
The central characters are all ghosts, teens who were murdered. They are strongly discouraged from trying to craft revenge or haunt their murderers and instead instructed to resolve lingering feelings from their lives and move on to be reincarnated. Or, if the person has died saving someone else, they will have the option to become and angel. Two children rule over the ghostly community, known collectively as the BOY, or Boss of You.

Both Sarah and her mother experienced a kind of premonition during their lifetimes, a warning sense that things were about to happen. Once, Sarah used her gift to save a woman’s life.

One of the boys Sarah meets has died through an assisted suicide. The other teens defends his choice and the actions of the family member who helped him.

Violent Content
One girl recounts her death at the hands of an employer whose advances she refused. It’s brief and not gory, but violent. Another girl is pushed off a bridge and crash lands on top of a car. (That’s about all the detail we get in the story, too.)

Drug Content
References to teen drinking.

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Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she’s not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

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2 Responses to Review: I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

  1. Judy Sheehan says:

    Kasey – thanks for a smart & fair review. Do you think you could share it with Amazon? Longish story there. If yes, thank you! If not, I still thank you!

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