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When Life Gives You Mangoes

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,311 ratings  ·  568 reviews
Nothing much happens in Sycamore, the small village where Clara lives - at least, that's how it looks. She loves eating ripe mangoes fallen from trees, running outside in the rainy season and escaping to her secret hideout with her best friend Gaynah. There's only one problem - she can't remember anything that happened last summer.

When a quirky girl called Rudy arrives fro
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2020 by Pushkin Children's Books
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Gavin Hetherington
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
THE TWIST!! I rarely gasp audibly when reading books, let alone a middle grade, but this one SHOOK ME.

This follows Clara who lost her memory of a storm that happened the summer before. Because of this, she is usually teased on her island, even from her best friend, Gaynah. Something happened to her and we don't really know what or why it's changed Clara.

I don't typically read contemporary but I was sent this ARC from Pushkin Press (so thank you so much because I LOVED this) in exchange for an h
Becca & The Books
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An atmospheric children's contemporary with a twist.

This follows Clara, a 12 year old girl who lives in a small island village. Clara has no memories of the previous summer and is teased a lot about this, especially by her best friend Gaynah.

I really enjoyed this book! Both Contemporary and Middle Grade aren't my usual reads so it was definitely outside my comfort zone but I enjoyed reading about Clara's days spent exploring the island that is her home and games of make-believe.

I have to admit,
This is a middle grade book. I do read a lot of middle grade books because I volunteer at my daughter's school library, and I like to know what books are about to help find a good book for them. I was so excited to read this book, and this book was so worth the excitement. The main character is Clara, and she is having some memory problems. I love that books is about a girl with mental issues (memory loss), and it was really well done. She feels everything is changing. She is working through it ...more
I was so happy to read and review When Life Gives You Mangoes, and it ended up being such an enjoyable middle grade read.

I immediately loved the Jamaican setting. And it made me miss home so much, and Jamaica too. It is the first book I’ve read set in Jamaica despite being British-Jamaican myself. The mentions of guineap, hard dough bread and ackee and saltfish – all things I eat and never really hear about in books — made me love it all the more. It did a great job of incorporating some of the
Elyse Walters
Jul 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“When Life Gives You Mangos” is a heartfelt Jamaican story - 208 pages - one sitting read - aimed for middle school age -
Enjoyed by all ages.

This story was inspired by the authors own childhood experiences.
It’s filled with adventures-and complex relationships in a small community…
Obstacles with friends, family, self….
It’s a powerful little contemporary tale, centered around twelve year old Clara, where everyone knows everyone.

Emotions are tender… as this story deals with memory loss,
A delightful, beyond beautiful and intoxicating read!

I am generally not a middle school book reader but when I read the blurb, saw the gorgeous cover and the title was enough to send me reading Kereen Getten’s debut novel.

Set in a seaside community in Jamaica When Life Gives You Mangoes is the story of twelve-year-old Clara and how she is spending her summer holidays. Clara lives with her mother and father in the community of Sycamore where no one leaves and no one new visits. Everyone in
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
“One cannot go wrong with his own company.”

I received an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review!

Okay, can we talk about how gorgeous the cover is? It’s one the most beautiful books that I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

This book was a warm hug. It’s about the different types of friendships. But it’s also about moving forward and letting go of your past and how toxic friends can sometimes ruin your life by making you stay in the past.

But what surprised me the most, was the supernatural elem
Gouri Verma
Jun 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book left me with TONS of questions but I can’t tell how much I loved it❤️ First of all the writing style………….I loved it💕 This book was EVERYTHING and I am very disappointed by how underrated this book is😭

How can the author write such a beautiful novel in just 200 pages along with a BIG plot twist and make it so much gripping to read? This book was brilliant and heartbreaking💝

This book’s ending was the most perfect ending a book can have🥰 I still can’t believe what happened with Clara last
10/20/20: Happy publication day!

Review posted on August 19th, 2020:

The cover of this book is what initially drew me to it and I expected a breezy summer read. Instead, this book hit me right in the heart. At first, I wasn't too engaged in the story but I did wonder why Clara had memory problems and why the whole town was constantly arguing about her. As the story goes along, things become clear and there is a twist I did not expect. I think I'm going to go back to the beginning of the book to
Aug 24, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved the setting of this book and many of the characters within it. I know this is a YoungAdult/Children's contemporary read, but it had such good points on family, friends and community that I enjoyed it. There is a good twist that I didn't expect. I just loved how the story flowed effortlessly and going through the trials and experiences like I was a kid again! ...more
Hina ♡
Jul 16, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a really normal story until (view spoiler) OMG I was really shocked when everything started to make sense! What a twist! ...more
October 03, 2020: This was such a delight to read. From a young girl's perspective who can't remember anything about last summer and keeps wondering where her sudden phobia around going into water is stemming from, this contemporary rightfully relies on character narration, emotional push, and a mysterious undertone. The father-daughter relationship was one of my favorites; in fact, the entire support the main character got from her family was lovely to witness. The twist was certainly surprisin ...more
Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Even though this book was short and sweet, I really enjoyed reading it!

Clara lives on a small, island village, where she loves the people and the memories she's made there. Except, she can't remember anything of what happened last summer, and lately, her best friend, Gaynah, hasn't been treating her like a friend. This summer, however, fate has something different in store for Clara, starting with
Théo M. (bookswiththeo)
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
"When Life Gives You Mangoes" by Kereen Getten is a fun middle-grade novel that explores a whole host of difficult issues such as bullying and memory loss. The story is set on the island of Jamaica, and follows Clara who cannot remember the events of last summer but knows that she is afraid of water. She used to spend her time in the ocean, surfing, but now for some reason she doesn't like surfing anymore. Subject to bullying amongst her family and peers because of her loss of memory, she begins ...more
3.5 stars

Clara lives on an island where everybody knows everybody, and the summer consists of eating mangoes in hideouts and hanging out with your friends. The only downside to Clara's life is that ever since the storm last summer she can't remember anything that happened, not even when prompted by her mother or best friend Gaynah. Can anything stir up her forgotten summer memories? Or are some memories best left in the dark?

I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere for this story. Set on a tropical
A new #ownvoices middle grade novel with a conflicted and lovable girl at its center. Clara is twelve and summer is beginning on Jamaica. Her best friend Gaynah seems to have deserted her and makes Clara want to retreat to her secret hideout. We learn that Clara wants loved surfing. Why is she afraid to go in the water? People keep telling her not to forget. What has she forgotten? What is the source of the conflict between Clara's uncle and Pastor Brown? Why didn't Clara know that Mrs. Ghee had ...more
Aug 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartfelt and surprising story of loss, friendship and community.

This was a truly gorgeous read and, despite being written for young readers, featured some twists and turns that totally took me by surprise. I’d happily recommend this book to children and adults alike who are looking for a warm, emotional and ultimately hopeful read.
Jul 14, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no clue what this was about when I picked this up. I did enjoy this and I liked the discussion about friendships and family. There is a twist that happen that I did not see coming. Which I really enjoyed. I also really liked learning a little bit about Jamaica.
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[ARC Provided by NetGalley, my review is unbiased]
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📗 I loved this book, there's something just so unique and special about it, and Clara's voice is quiet, but powerful. I loved the small town girl / big city girl dynamic as Rudy moves to town and becomes friends with Clara, and neither girl shuns the other's culture, happy to learn from the other.

📕 I really felt welcomed to Clara's small village of Sycamore, I usually prefer cities over small towns, but the co
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, books-i-own
This book, wow. Just wow. I don't even know where to begin to unpack all of the fantastic things about this book. As a middle grade, I really didn't expect the themes that were prevalent, including intense relationships with family, friendship and loss/grief through the eyes of a child. This book wasn't even remotely mysterious, but the plot twist was incredibly unexpected.
I had so many different ideas of what would have happened in this book, all of which were much less exciting than the actual
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short and sweet little story focused on family and friendship. I loved the underlying mystery behind Clara's lost memories. The twist that was revealed by the end was very unexpected which was surprising seeing as this is a middle grade. Overall I had a fun time reading this one!

Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC!
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book 📖 ❤ had trouble putting it down and didn't want it to end:) ...more
Ms. Woc Reader
Clara lives on an island in a tight knit village with people who feel so familiar. It's small and seaside so no one ever visits and no one really leaves. There's the grouchy old woman whom seems to dislike everyone but everyone does what she needs without question. There's the pastor that's overly judgmental. Clara's cousin Gaynah who she gets along with one minute and is at odd's with the next. And there's her ostracized uncle who everyone calls a witch doctor.

It's a slow starter but it's a we
This book surprised me in a lot of ways. It had a beautiful lyrical writing style which I loved, and it was quite atmospheric, sort of summer-y and sweet. At the same time, it was kinda dark because there was a lot of mystery surrounding something. Like, I had no idea what was going on with the story. It was just about the main character's everyday life, until the plot twist hit me. I actually guessed it when I was 50% through, but it was still shocking nonetheless.

My only issue is that this bo
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
When Life Gives You Mangoes is a riveting debut middle-grade novel set on a small Caribbean island. This book explores a variety of important themes ranging from friendships, community, the influence of religion and superstition in Caribbean communities, and the impact of trauma on children. Packed with charming scenes of island life and peeks into childhood on a small island, this book is a perfect selection for those looking to read more culturally diverse middle grade literature. I can’t wait ...more
Jessica Haider
In a mango-sweet new middle grade novel, Kereen Getten, tells the story of 12-year old Clara. Clara lives in a small seaside town in Jamaica. Clara loves living on the island. She loves eating fresh ripe mangos and running around in the rain. She has a secret hangout where she spends time with her best friend. There is just one thing. Clara has a gap in her memory about what happened last summer after a hurricane.

This was a moving novel about friendship and family. Clara learns about connection
“I remember that my name is Clara Dee-Henson, and I remember I am twelve years old. I know I live on a small island that tourists call exotic. I know I used to love surfing every morning while Papa went fishing, but I don’t do that anymore. Something happened that made me forget everything that happened last summer.”

Kereen Getten’s “When Life Gives You Mangos” has an intriguing premise (and a gorgeous cover!), and I was drawn in right from page one. Clara is a 12-year-old living on Sycamore, a s
Feb 27, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. very sweet and short middle grade!
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t usually read books such as this but the cover alone spoke to me, it’s gorgeous! And while branching out into more cultural books this popped on my radar. And I’m glad that it did!

It’s a cute quick read that I didn’t expect much from, I barley knew what it was about other than ‘best friends fighting and memory loss’, which I would only go into this book knowing that/holding on to that knowledge because it makes the book ten times better when it gets to the twist, which once again I was N
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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. Visit her on Twitter @kereengetten or on Instagram @Kezywrites.

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