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Nostalgic & Adventurous: The Mall by Megan McCafferty

Loved the trip back in time and the friendship!

by Megan McCafferty
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: 
July 28th 2020 by Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: ★★★
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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.
This 90s-inspired novel transported me completely to The Mall. McCafferty had me wanting more from the 90s and wanting to be born a little bit earlier than 1994.

Cassie cannot wait to head out of New Jersey and straight to New York at the end of the summer. In the mean time, her plan is to work alongside her boyfriend, until that plan fails. Her boyfriend dumps her and she ends up getting fired. She ends up finding a job at a boutique, owned by her ex-best friend's mom. Soon, the girls put aside their differences when Drea pulls Cassie in on a treasure hunt around The Mall.

This novel was adventure-filled and had me glued to its pages! Cassie is a quirky and fun character I enjoyed. Being inside her head was lots of fun. Drea was a character I adored! I want this girl's self-esteem. She embraces herself and doesn't care about the rumor-mill.

This friendship was the highlight for me in the story. You guys know I love to read books with romance. Basically, if it doesn't have romance, I don't want it. Let me tell you that this book had me forgetting it didn't have romance, and had me rooting for the friendship, the treasure hunt, and just everything! I honestly couldn't stop reading this wonderful masterpiece. I loved the tribute it gave to the 90s, with the jean jackets, the pins, the music, the mall itself.

Speaking of which, I felt like The Mall was its own character. I don't know how the author did it, but she managed to have me caring for a building. I was never once bored with the setting just being the mall. It actually enhanced the reading experience because a lot could be touched on with depth, instead of brushing it off.

I was still excited about Barnard and New York City, about seeing what life beyond Pineville had in store for me. Yet, 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.

Aside from friendship, this book also focused on finding oneself. Cassie had a lot of soul-searching to do, and I think this book touched on everything it needed without it feeling too much. Cassie slowly grew throughout the novel and in the end, she ended up becoming "the best possible version" of herself.

Overall, The Mall is a nostalgic and adventurous 90s-inspired novel with a lovely focus on friendship and discovering oneself.

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