Author: Megan McCafferty
Published: June 9th, 2020 by Wednesday Books
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Format: eARC, 320 pages
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.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you!) in exchange for my honest review.
Observe my thoughts on this 90’s-vibe, mall-culture, friendship novel in the style of bullet points!!1!1
- I was first drawn to this title because of the cover. I don’t know if it felt exactly 90’s, but the description promised it, and being a 90’s kid myself really sealed the deal! Neon colors are a bonus when it comes to, well, everything. And thus, I went click-happy on NetGalley.
- Cassie Worthy, our illustrious main character, just recovered from mono and is ready to take on her role as a new employee at the Parkway Center Mall’s very own America’s Best Cookie… right alongside her boyfriend of two years! She and Troy are all about “the plan” – at the end of summer, they’re moving to NYC to go to their respective colleges, graduating with degree that compliment each other, and then obviously get married and live happily ever after… WRONG!
- Her hopes and dreams and the plan she was riding on comes crashing down when she gets simultaneously dumped and fired one her first day. Determined to find another job in the mall, one kind of… falls in her lap. Only, it’s run by her ex-best friend and her mom!
- Drea Bellarosa used to be Cassie’s best friend, but then Drea dubbed her “too uncool” for her to bother with. Now they are paired together again and their friendship is rekindled as Drea drags her into a treasure hunt of sorts involving Cabbage Patch dolls and really badly hand-drawn maps.
- I loved the treasure hunt in a mall plot device, and really enjoyed how the journey brought them to different parts of the mall, thus introducing an array of different and unique characters. Each new clue led to a new person who seemed to have some type of tie with Drea, who is basically the equivalent of mall royalty.
- Through this little adventure, Cassie is on her own personal quest to discover who she is, to ultimately find fulfillment and transforming into the best possible version of herself while working with the Bellarosa’s.
I was excited about [college] and New York City, about seeing what life beyond Pineville had in store for me. Yet, a part of me wondered if everything I really needed to know — about family and friendship and love and loyalty and betrayal and sisterhood […] — I had already learned that summer at the mall.
- This book was just so enjoyable. Despite all the things that went wrong through her summer, Cassie learns some valuable lessons after a summer of some narcissism, slight revenge, and a run through the rumor mill – and the enticing treasure hunt to boot!
- And I found myself wanting to get to the bottom of the Cabbage Patch treasure hunt. It was an oddly satisfying end.
- I enjoyed the characters and the 90’s pop culture references, and the lessons at the end. Highly recommended to read this coming summer!
Total time spent reading: 5h 46m
Dates read: Mar 5 – 11, 2020
✨ Dreams and ambitions.
This young adult novel encompasses the prompt of “dreams and ambitions” since Cassie’s “plan” is to attend college in NYC after summer. Even though all arrangements are thwarted, she still picks herself back up and carries on until she gets into her dream college! Meanwhile, she helps someone else along the way follow their dreams: Drea aspires to go to fashion school, and faces many challenges in getting herself there. But with Cassie there to offer to help, Drea just might get her own happy ending!