New Young Adult Novel: When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten

When Life Gives You Mangos is a wonderful story with great heart, mystery, and insight. What a treat to walk alongside Clara in her vibrant Jamaican home, through the peaks and valleys of the human experience — heartache and joy, alienation and deep friendship, regret and redemption. Clara is the girl we all wish was our best friend—honest, spirited, and real. Kereen Getten is a bright new voice. Her writing strikes the perfect balance of beauty, depth, and a touch of mango!” —Clare Vanderpool, author of Newbery Medal winner Moon Over Manifest and Printz Honor book Navigating Early 

“A heartwarming yet suspenseful debut about the strength of family, the turmoil of friendships lost and found, and most importantly, remembering who you are.” —Lynne Kelly, author of the Schneider award winner Song for a Whale

“A heartfelt and accessible debut about friendship, memory, and forgiveness.” —Tae Keller, author of When You Trap a Tiger

“A touching novel about letting go of the past and moving on.” —Kirkus Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—Twelve-year-old Clara lives on an island that visitors call “exotic.” But for Clara it’s what she knows; it’s home. Unfortunately, Clara is struggling to remember last summer. She’s knows something big happened, but that space in her mind is nearly blank. As friends both new and old help Clara navigate her tricky situation, she not only rediscovers what happened that summer, she also learns to mend relationships and forgive herself. This is a beautifully written and paced novel perfect for a middle grade audience. Getten’s handling of potentially tough topics like family, disability, and religion is spot-on, weaving important discussions into an adventurous, summery plot that just keeps going. In the end, a big twist blurs the line between reality and the supernatural. Readers will root for Clara and ultimately her whole community as they come together despite their differences. Clara and most of the cast have dark brown skin and hair, and both the story and setting are inspired by the author’s childhood in Jamaica. VERDICT Getten’s heartfelt, lyrical debut will find a home in all collections.

About the Author

Kereen Getten grew up in Jamaica where she would climb fruit trees in the family garden and eat as much mango, guinep and pear as she could without being caught. She now lives in Birmingham with her family and writes stories about her childhood experiences. When Life Gives You Mangos is her debut novel.

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