When Life Gives You Mangos

Delacorte. Sept. 2020. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593173978.
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. Recommended as a first purchase.

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