Humano Morphs

#36 - Madness at the Mall


Frank and his little brother are new to town; their dad was hired to finish building a shopping mall. CHARACTER seems to be taking to his new surroundings pretty well ... interest in a girl from school helps! But there's something strange going on ... a strange connection between the mall, a computer game, earthquakes, and rumors of an animal graveyard ...

Will Frank make it out of the mall alive, or will he shop till he drops?


Every kid's fantasy is to be in the mall after it gets locked up. What could be better? You can spree through the toy store, have free reign in the arcade, plug everything in at the computer store, grab a bike from the sports shop and ride it through the hallway. Not only that, but throw in some ghosts and now we're really cookin'. That's why Madness at the Mall is so relatable ... not only are kids at that age starting to choose girls over school, but a mystery/adventure where you're locked in the mall is right up there with meeting your favorite baseball player or winning the lottery to a lot of kids.

I liked the main character of the story ... lots of ambition but unsure about things and lacking a bit of focus. The describes a lot of preteens/early teens pretty well. The story is woven pretty tightly. There's a real mystery to it ... even readers used to this genre will wonder what exactly is going on in the mall (you know it has to do with the animal cemetary, but how is it going to play out? What's the angle?) That coupled with the great backdrops of the endless tunnels, earthquakes, the video game and the shopping mall make for a great story. The video game elements are really just icing on the cake. The sibling dynamic is natural, and it's the real heart of the story. As many stories in the series do, it reminds us that we need to keep the family dynamic going.

Reading the book is bittersweet for any Shivers fan, as it's the final entry in the series. M.D. Spenser hadn't run out of steam yet though, because it's definitely a strong entry.

There was one thing I would've liked to see, and that was some closure on his date/budding relationship, and also a thought or two on how he had grown to either like/hate the new place he was living. Just a throwaway line or two would've been fine, but Shivers often leaves things like that for the reader to decide, and I'm fine with that.

Even though the ending wasn't as "up in the air" as other Shivers books, you're still left with a somewhat startling ending, which is really one of the strong points of this series over other series in the genre. Just when you think the whole experience couldn't have been real ...

The story, like many others, delivers a moral message -- rely on your family and do what your parents tell you to do! Also, don't make video game animals mad.

Interesting Info

  • The cover is a creepy image of two skeletons with red eyes coming down a mall escalator ... blood is running beside them. Humorous shop names are behind them.
  • The spine/jacket color is yellow, and the shivers logo is neon orange.
  • If you can't get enough of this kind of storyline, there's a similar Are You Afraid of the Dark episode called ___
  • The dedication is to Lindsay and Frank. Frank is used as the name of the main character.
  • The copyright date is 1997.

Cover Image