Kereen Getten’s stunning debut, When Life Gives You Mangoes, is published in the UK today by Pushkin Press.
This Middle Grade novel has received a myriad of brilliant five-star reviews, and was featured by Publisher’s Weekly in their Spring 2020 Middle Grade Spotlight in April this year, as well as being the current Faber Andlyn (FAB) Prize ‘Book of the Month‘. It will be released in the US by Penguin Random House / Delacorte on the 20th October. Kereen herself has recently lent her talents to a workshop for WOWCON, WriteMentor’s annual children’s writing conference.
Thank you @StuartWhiteWM for having me on #WOWCON. I had such a lovely time doing my first workshop last night. To everyone that attended, thank you for being so engaged and generally wonderful people.
— Kereen Getten Is Not Really Here (@kereengetten) September 27, 2020
The book follows Clara, a young Jamaican girl who loves getting up to mischief with her best friend, Gaynah, in their uneventful village. Clara’s main problem is that she can’t remember a thing from last summer. Then, when a new girl arrives from England for the summer holidays, fragments of her memory begin to return…
A summer she can’t remember
A friendship she won’t forget
Nothing much happens in Sycamore, the small village where Clara lives – at least, that’s how it seems. 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 about the previous 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.
Readers and fellow authors have praised Kereen’s immersive storytelling and rich themes:
“A wonderful story with great heart, mystery, and insight. Kereen Getten is a bright new voice.” Clare Vanderpool, award-winning author of Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early
“A heartfelt and accessible debut about friendship, memory, and forgiveness.” Tae Keller, author of When You Trap a Tiger
“A delightful, beyond beautiful and intoxicating read!” Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars
“I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this book. The writing was fresh, layered, and very authentic. Clara is a character I know I will not forget anytime soon.” Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars
“This book!!! I am not okay. Kereen Getten has left me in absolute shambles. I know I’m going to be thinking about this book for days.” Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars
“Wow. I mean. Just wow! This book was an absolutely stunning middle grade that I think most anyone could enjoy!” Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars
Kereen is a Birmingham based author who has previously written short stories. She draws on her experiences of living in Jamaica and of emigrating to a new country for her novels.
As well as having a breath-taking cover, this debut is a sweet, refreshing delight – much like the titular fruit itself. We can’t wait to see it on shelves, and wish Kereen many congratulations.