‘When Life Gives You Mangos’ by Kereen Getten | Book Review

Book Review: When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Length: 208 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction (Middle Grade)
Release Date: September 15, 2020


For fans of deeply poignant middle grade about friendship and loss like The Thing About Jellyfish, comes the story about a young girl who can’t remember anything from her previous summer after a hurricane.

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.

My Thoughts

*I received a copy of ‘When Life Gives You Mangos’ through NetGalley and Delacorte Press, in exchange for an honest review*

My heart went out to Clara in ‘When Life Gives You Mangos’! All Clara wants is to repair her complicated friendship with Gaynah. The face that Gaynah isn’t supportive of her memory lapses doesn’t make things easier! Clara has an exciting cast of characters in her island community: a nagging matriarch with a heart of gold, an uncle known for his ‘eccentric past’, and a new girl with fashionable clothes with an eye for Clara’s well being.

The road to Clara’s memory recovery is indeed a struggle, as she comes to grips to the events that led her to that predicament. Her community is very supportive and protective, going to great lengths to keep secrets for the sake of security. It isn’t until a adventurous playdate in the neighborhood that Clara begins to discover there is more to her friendships than what she’s aware of.

I love Clara’s island community, for it has two identities. For many, it’s an exotic place, where tourists visit to admire for days at a time. However, Clara’s island is home. Her island brims with her community’s rich identity. Neighborhoods flow with beautiful trees and vibrant homes, their history dating back centuries. It’s where Clara feels the safety of her family, holding her close when times grow difficult.

This is a middle grade novel, and it does an exceptional job handling the topic of traumatic events to a young audience. The story begins with a storm impacting the community, yet it doesn’t go overboard with graphic details. The takeaway is always a community uniting together in order to support each other. Clara goes through rough patches with her memory loss, yet her community is there to support on of their own.

I would recommend When Life Gives You Mangos for those wanting stories about friendship and recovering from trauma. Such a heartfelt story!

Would you want to put When Life Gives You Mangos in your TBR? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Murder Mystery/Blogtober Day 22

When it comes to good Murder Mystery stories, this book comes to mind:

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
In this story, Annaleigh sets out to solve the mystery of what might be killing off her sisters one by one. House of Salt and Sorrows is set in House Thaumas out in an island, and is a fairy tale retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses. It has equal parts horror and mystery, as Annaleigh’s journey leads to many shocking twists and turns throughout the book!

Let me know about your favorite Murder Mystery story in the comments!

My OwlCrate for August 2019

I’m glad to finally show you my items for this month’s OwlCrate! The selection for this month has been such a favorite of mine for quite a while now!

The August OwlCrate, Storms and Seas!
–Loose leaf tea inspired by Sea Witch, designed by Riddle’s Tea Shoppe
–Tea light candle lantern, an OwlCrate exclusive
–Tin pencil case inspired by The Scorpio Races , designed by Stella’s Bookish Art
–Bath salts inspired by The Little Mermaid, designed by The Soap Librarian
–Wooden tassel bookmark inspired by Daughter of the Pirate King, designed by Juniper and Ivy Designs
–Enamel pin for August, designed by Laserbrain Patch Co

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, accompanied by an exclusive bookmark and letter signed by the author

Sazon Book Tours Aug 21st: ‘Color Me In’ by Natasha Diaz/ a Review

I’m glad to partner up with Sazon Book Tours in the next stop on the ‘Color Me In’ Blog Tour! I found ‘Color Me In’ as a thought-provoking story about Neveah Levitz, a 16 year old girl having to live through the trauma of divorce and leaving her childhood home in White Plains. Neveah moves to Harlem with her mother. Harlem was her mother’s childhood home, yet Neveah struggles to identify with her close-yet-distant extended family and cousins in this new environment. Being a bi-racial young woman, Neveah struggles to re-discover her own identity through a close-knit community, and finding her own voice through the written word.

‘Color Me In’ is a very intense story, as it handles the issues of race and culture through the eyes of someone struggling to understand her own place in society. The story itself is written in lovely prose as well. If you haven’t picked up your copy of ‘Color Me In’ yet, you definitely should. You won’t be disappointed!

Rating: 5/5 Stars


Who is Nevaeh Levitz?

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.

Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?

Professional Reader

August 2019 New Book Releases

I was going to write a July reading wrap-up, but the books I read were all part of The Reading Rush, and I wrote my thoughts on those amazing stories already! So, here is a post about the new book releases happening this month.

House of Salt and Sorrows
Delacorte Press
Genre: YA
Release Date: August 6, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows is Erin Craig’s debut novel. It is a fairy tale retelling of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’, centering around a young woman set in unraveling the mystery of her family’s immense bad luck. I received a copy through Netgalley a few months ago, and I absolutely enjoyed it!

The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre
Midnight Ink Press

Genre: Suspense
Release Date: August 8, 2019

The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre is a tale of obsession and control, as a woman sets out to solve her harrowing situation of being a prisoner in her own home. This story truly sounds like an intense read!

The Birthday Girl by Melissa De La Cruz
Dutton Books

Genre: Thriller
Release Date: August 6, 2019

The Birthday Girl tells the story of Ellie, a woman celebrating her 40th birthday with family and friends. While she achieved great success in her life, there are skeletons in her closet that threaten to reveal itself.

Because Ypu’re Mine by Rea Frey
St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Suspense
Release Date: August 6, 2019

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey centers around a hard-working single mom named Lee, who leaves her son with a trusted tutor for a much deserved weekend away. A couple days later, someone is found dead, and secrets begin to unravel among Lee’s trusted friends. It definately sounds like a page-turner!

Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
Delacorte Books
Genre: YA
Release Date: August 20, 2019

Color Me In is a story of finding one’s identity in the aftermath of divorce. Neveah Levitz moves to her mother’s childhood home in Harlem, where she confronts hostility and misunderstandings about her biracial identity. I also received this book through NetGalley, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this story soon!

Professional Reader

‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ by Erin A. Craig/A Review

‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ by Erin A. Craig is an adaptation of the Grimm’s Fairy Tale ‘The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces’ (also known as ‘The 12 Dancing Princesses’). This story is due for release on August 6, 2019. I received an ARC of this novel through Net Galley, and the synopsis intrigued me: a wealthy Duke enduring the mysterious loss of a daughter year after year. I never read the fairy tale before taking on this story, but I decided to read the story based on the paranormal aspect.

‘House of Salt of Sorrows’ is set in Salann, an island territory in the world of Arcannia. Each territory follows its own deity based on the climate of the area (the residents of Salann worship Pontus, a god akin to Poseidon. The story follows the perspective of Annaleigh, who is now second in line to her father’s inheritance, due to the eldest daughters suffering tragic, unexplainable deaths. Annaleigh sets out to solve the mystery of her sisters’ deaths, and encounters disturbing elements of paranormal occurrences along the way. Her youngest sister endures quite descriptive images of paranormal activity, yet Annaleigh doesn’t acknowledge these signs until she is in the throes of her journey. She finds herself racing to discover the origin of her family’s dilemma before any further losses take place.

I loved how descriptive the death and violence were in the book. I enjoy reading books with tragic elements, and I was pleasantly surprised that I read this inside a YA novel. I love a good tale with mystery and paranormal elements.

‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ is a very good story, and I am thankful to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for giving me an eARC!

Professional Reader

My First NetGalley ARC

Yesterday I began reading my first book from NetGalley, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. The story follows a young woman named Annaleigh, who attempts to uncover the reason why her sisters are dying one after the other. I’m about a quarter of the way into the book, and I enjoy the amount of paranormal scenes that are in this book. I’m looking forward to reading more and see what direction this story takes.

NetGalley provides reviewers ARC’s (Advanced Reader’s Copies) in eReader format only. This does not bother me, since I enjoy reading books in both physical and digital forms. Since I’m waiting for a copy of The Oyster Thief to become available in the library, I enjoy this NetGalley selection to keep me busy.

Professional Reader