The unexpected loss of a dear friendship leads to anxiety and ultimately resilience in television writer and producer Hyman’s first middle-grade novel.
Mango is a thoughtful 12-year-old black girl at Trueheart Middle School when her BFF gets a new cellphone, and suddenly they are on different planes of existence. When Mango accidentally drowns the phone in the bathroom sink, the fallout includes a lost job for her dad, a lost friend, and, above all, a lost sense of self and trust in others. “From then on, I was going to be uber-careful about who I got close to and who I let get close to me.” Fortunately, despite her mounting anxiety, Mango learns that not everyone is as mercurial as her ex–BFF. Izzy, an exuberant Mexican-American classmate and former preschool play date that she had lost touch with, is the first of many to show Mango what a true friendship based on honesty and trust can look like. From cast mates in the school play to mentors and parents, a diverse community surrounds Mango as she learns to believe in herself and others again. Even former enemies can turn out to be friends when one learns to be real. Though this book clearly helps fill the need for minority female leads, the universal themes it addresses give it broad appeal across ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds.
A short and sweet story that will encourage deeper conversations around shame, honesty, and courage. (Fiction. 8-12)