Under the Tangerine Tree
Esther M. Bandy, Author
JEBCO Publishing, Fiction, Jan. 6, 2022
Suitable for ages: 8-12
Themes: Loss, Grief, Family relationships, Moving, Adventure, Faith, Hope
Book Jacket Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Angie Mangione lives with her parents and her five-year-old brother, Joey, in New York City. After Papa is shot, Mama moves with Angie and Joey to Granny’s house on a country lake in Florida. How can Angie cope with missing Papa, moving to Florida, being the new girl at school, and living with her angry teenage cousin at Granny’s house? Will Angie and Joey be able to survive the mysterious danger that lurks in the lake? With all the changes in Angie’s life, will she ever be happy again?
Why I like Under the Tangerine Tree:
Under the Tangerine Tree is a heartwarming tale about strong family bonds and faith after the unexpected death of a parent. It’s also about moving to a new town, making new friends and dealing with grief and other big emotions.
Readers will enjoy Bandy’s visual and melodic writing. It is simply beautiful. And it is a timely book for children who have lost a parent through an act of gun violence. They will find a friend in Angie and the many other engaging and memorable characters. The plot is interesting, adventurous and entertaining — especially with peacocks scratching and screaming on the roof of Granny’s house. And then there is the mystery in the lake that poses a danger.
The story is set in 1963 when Angie Mangione is 12 years old. The time frame immediately drew me into the story because I was the same age in 1963. I observed many of the historical events of the time — the Bay of Pigs incident with Cuba, Martin Luther King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial, and the death of President Kennedy — which are seamlessly woven into the story. It was a lazy summer time for kids as we played games outside, went fishing, caught lightning bugs and went on picnics. There was more interaction with family members and neighbors.
The story has a strong Christian theme as Angie struggles to deal with her father’s death. Her faith helps her through some tough times along with the support of her mother and Granny. It reminds me a bit of Because of Winn Dixie. It’s always tough moving to a new town and making new friends.
This is a perfect summer read and a satisfying coming-of-age story. And I must comment on the title and beautiful book cover.
Esther Bandy has been published in two anthologies: Treasures of a Woman’s Heart and Triumph from Tragedy. Under the Tangerine Tree is her debut middle-grade novel, When she was five, a neighbor taught a Good News Club. She heard the gospel there, and she received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. That was the most important day in her life. She later worked as a nurse, a missionary, a director with Child Evangelism Fellowship, and a Spanish teacher at a Christian school. Visit here at her website, You can follow her on Facebook @EstherMBandy.
*Review copy provided by the author in exchange for a review.