Monday, 29 March 2021

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten


Reviewer:
Catriona Troth

What We Thought of It:

Clara is part of a small and close-knit group of friends in a rural, seaside community in Jamaica. But something that happened last summer has stretched friendship to breaking point. Will the arrival of Rudy, a girl from England visiting her grandmother, be Clara’s salvation?

The places where Clara used to play – the river, the hidey-hole under the mango tree – are tainted with the past. And Clara, who used to love the sea, is somehow now terrified of water. So Clara and Rudy strike further out in search of adventure – a ruined fort, the former plantation house where Clara’s reclusive uncle lives…

But then a hurricane brings a twist in the tale that will turn everything upside-down, and make you want to go back and read parts of it again.

Clara’s world is the world the author grew up in. Her evocation of a small community where everyone knows everyone else is both universal and delightfully specific. (No adult could, surely, have made up a game like Pick Leaf?)

The mystery and drama build teasingly in this brilliantly constructed novel. A story about friendship and loss and how we cope with trauma, full of tenderness and compassion.

Shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Children’s and Young Adults’ Prize.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: Tamarind and the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan; The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton (for slightly older readers)

Avoid If you Dislike: Stories about losing a friend

Perfect Accompaniment: Mangos (of course)

Genre: Children’s (middle reader)

Buy This Book Here:

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