New Jersey: 1991

Cassie Worthy’s senior year spring did not go as planned—she got mono and missed prom and graduation and a bunch of other stuff. But now she’s better, and she’s starting her job at the America’s Best Cookie store with her amazing boyfriend of two years. They’re going to spend the summer working at the mall together, and then head up to NYC together for college.

And then almost immediately, everything goes wrong. Cassie finds herself dumped, jobless, and wondering what happened. Our intrepid heroine has pick herself up, find something to do all summer, and most importantly, realize that plans can only go so far.

As a child of the 90s—although Cassie is about 7 years older than me—I appreciate the homage to the bygone decade of my youth. The book is full of vintage references and slang, and there’s even a mystery subplot centered around Cabbage Patch Dolls, which are from the 80s, but hey, all the 90s kids played with them, so it’s totally relevant.

I found it a little difficult to like Cassie at first, but I think that’s kind of the point. I’m sure she’d be pleased to hear me comparing her to Lizzy Bennet, but the two have quite a bit in common. Cassie has strong opinions about everything, and her preconceived notions get in the way of her experiencing new things and empathizing with others. Over the course of the book, she learns to let her guard down and realizes that there’s more to life than good grades.

This book includes a delightful cast of secondary characters, most of whom work at the mall. They served as foils for Cassie’s strong personality, and this led to plenty of fun interactions.

I would recommend The Mall. This is a fun YA title, and it’s perfect for a summer read; since there’s a lot less hanging out at the local mall this summer, it’s a nice substitute for an actual trip to the mall. 

I received a copy of this book from St. Martins/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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