Book Reviews

Book Review: When Life Gives You Mangoes

Title: When Life Gives You Mangoes

Author: Kereen Getten

Publisher: October 20 2020

Publication Date: Delacorte Press

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary


Twelve-year-old Clara lives on an island that visitors call exotic. But there’s nothing exotic about it to Clara. She loves eating ripe mangos off the ground, running outside in the rain with her Papa during rainy season, and going to her secret hideout with Gaynah–even though lately she’s not acting like a best friend.

The only thing out of the ordinary for Clara is that something happened to her memory that made her forget everything that happened last summer after a hurricane hit. Sometimes things come back to her in drips like a tap that hasn’t been turned off properly. Other times her Mama fills in the blanks…only she knows those aren’t her memories and it is hard feeling like she is not like everybody else.

But this summer is going to be different for Clara. Everyone is buzzing with excitement over a new girl in the village who is not like other visitors. She is about to make big waves on the island–and give Clara a summer she won’t forget.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I received an arc copy of this book as a part of the Hear Our Voices Tour for this book. Watch my video here.

My biggest issues with this book was that it was set in rural Jamaica and there really wasn’t much evidence of that. The characters didn’t speak Patois and the description of the setting could’ve been anywhere. I also didn’t realise the book was set in present day until an artist was mentioned. The plot twist also left a small plot hole, but the longer I think on it the bigger the issue is. The plot hole has to do with the sequence of events and some things no longer make sense once the twist was revealed.

Onto more positive things, the younger characters all I felt their age. They spoke and acted like twelve year olds. The cast of characters was also easy to love. I liked reading from Clara’s perspective and I loved Rudy as a character. The relationship dynamics between characters was another thing that I enjoyed.

The relationship between Clara’s parents, the blossoming friendship between Rudy and Clara and the friendship between Clara and a few of the side characters.

Even though the plot twist caused a bit of a problem with the continuity of the story, the twist itself was wonderful.

That’s All I Got, Romy.

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