Mango Delight’s summer takes a detour when she is asked to star in an off-off-off-Broadway musical in New York City.
Mango, a 12 ½-year-old black girl, is just about to settle into her summer vacation routine, babysitting her toddler brother and hanging out with her best friend, when the director of the school musical she starred in in her eponymous debut (2017) invites her to star in the same play—but this time with professional actors in NYC. Once her parents give permission, Mango must contend with her own fears and homesickness, and she faces obstacles including obnoxious co-stars, a case of imposter syndrome, and long-distance fights with her best friend. And the boy she likes is staying in the city too, which makes things even more exciting—and confusing. Mango is a very imperfect, sympathetic protagonist whose humorous perspective is fun to share as she stumbles from one adventure to another, trying to stay true to herself in the process; she peppers her narration with text-message transcripts. Believable secondary characters and lighthearted middle school angst make this journey worth the ride, but Mango’s fascination with white beauty standards detracts a bit from the fun storyline. Mango’s Jamaican dad is a chef trying to get a catering company off the ground while her mom, who has a prosthetic leg, works at Target in order to afford the family’s insurance.
Readers will swallow this book whole, appetites whet for the next installment.(Fiction. 11-13)