Kid’s Book Review: When Life Gives You Mangoes

Kid’s Book Review: When Life Gives You Mangoes

About the Book and Author

This story, set in Jamaica, is rich with descriptions about the Caribbean island, but it is the characters in the village community and the writer’s understanding of childhood friendships and their dynamics that will make this book so appealing to readers aged 10-14 years.

For a debut novel it is an extraordinary accomplishment and proudly published by Pushkin Press.

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.

When Life Gives You Mangos cover
Kareen Getten

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 in the UK with her family and writes stories about her childhood experiences.

When Life Gives You Mangoes is her debut novel.

Book Review

This book was really heart-warming and you felt like you were actually in the story in sunny Jamaica

I admit I was not so sure about this book when I first saw what it was called.

But after reading the book, I totally regretted my initial reaction because mangoes are a really important part of the book; the title really fits the story.

This book was really heartwarming and you felt like you were actually in the story. The book was about a little girl, scared of the sea and who can’t remember what happened last summer.The plot twist was a game changer and was a key part in the book.

I recommend this book to readers aged 10 years or more, because it isn’t a super hero comic book, but a beautiful tale which makes you think rather than being full of non-stop action.

When you finish reading it, you’ll feel great!


If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from an independent book shop. If you don’t know where your closest shop is you can search on or buy here

Buy Here

You won’t need persuading that indie bookshops are unique, integral to your community and refuges for readers to browse and enjoy making new discoveries inside. Please support your high street and shop local.

Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian, if you cannot find the book on its shelves.

Either way, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Junior Reviewer Eva
  • Name: Eva
  • Age: 11 years
  • Likes: Chocolate, art and animals
  • Dislikes: Climate change and cakes with too much icing
  • Favourite Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K.Rowling
  • Favourite Film: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Favourite Song: One Last Time by Ariana Grande