Book Reviews

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten Book Review [a surfing warrior with wings]


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 from England, everything starts to change. Gaynah stops acting like a best friend, while Rudy and Clara roam across the island and uncover an old family secret. As the summer reaches its peak and the island storms begin, Clara’s memory starts to return and she must finally face the truth of what happened last year.



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 community spirit and the way they were all a big family that loved each other and took care of each other made me understand the appeal and I loved every moment I spent there.

This is a hot, summery middle grade with constant sense of mystery, as Clara refuses to deal with the painful memories of the summer before. No longer pursuing her passion, surfing, she seems extremely afraid of water, but cannot fully understand why.

When Clara finally confronts her memories of the summer before and we find out what happened, I really wasn’t expecting the big reveal that we got and I was blown away, I’m pretty sure my mouth actually dropped.

The ending is so good, wrapping the story up perfectly and letting me know that Clara was going to be okay, and she was starting to move on with her life, with the love and support of her friends and family. I would love a sequel with a POV switch to Rudy, who really stood out to me.

Have you read this book? Loved it / hated it? Let me know in the comments!

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