Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet

Publisher: Hyperion; (2006)

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth

Jeeta's family is caught up in the whirlwind of arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but the drama and excitement leave Jeeta cold. She knows that tradition demands the parade of suitors, the marriage negotiations, the elaborate displays, the expensive wedding parties - but where is the love and romance that the movies promise? She dreads her turn on the matrimonial circuit, especially since Mummy is always complaining about how difficult it will be to find Jeeta a good husband, with her dark skin and sharp tongue. As Jeeta spends more time with her new friend from school, Sarina, and her educated, liberal parents, she begins to question her tradition-bound family's expectations. And when she falls in love with Sarina's cousin Neel, Jeeta realizes that she must strike a balance between independence and duty and follow her own path. With its gentle humor and a rich sense of place, Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet is an engaging coming-of-age novel set in contemporary Mumbai.

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet Discussion Guide

Hear how Kashmira pronouces her characters' names


Foreign translation



Publishers Weekly: "Sheth's (Blue Jasmine) novel set in Mumbai offers readers a fascinating glimpse of modern Indian culture. Eloquent and insightful, this book invites introspection and may lead to lively discussions about the pros and cons of honoring and breaking tradition."

From School Library Journal (Grade 8 Up): "Warmly descriptive of life in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), this love story has a rich sense of place. This first-person narrative is a lush and loving exploration of coming of age."

From Booklist: "But like the hot, sweet mango pickles Jeeta savors, her experiences crystallize the combined pain and joy of tradition and family, which Sheth anchors in rich particulars of setting, cuisine, and dialect (a glossary is provided)."

Selected by Cooperative Children's Book Center as their Book of the Week: "Jeeta's fear for her sister far outweighs her fear of violating traditional values in a story about a strong and loving family facing the challenges of blending new ideas with old. With complex characters, realistic relationships, and vivid, sensual details of setting and culture, Kashmira Sheths brings Jeeta's life into full relief in story that unfolds with grace and certainty."

"Traditional roles for women are explored beside modern ones, including higher education and professional identities independent from family or marital ties. The dilemma presented by traditional concepts of beauty versus conceptualization of self as beautiful based on merit, personality, and personal assessment adds interesting insights." Maria Mederos, (Orlando) Examiner

"Sheth has created an earnest work that captures the familiar struggle to bridge modern culture with conservative tradition." papertigers (Mary Beth Cecchini)

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Awards, Honors, Prizes
  • 2007 Amelia Bloomer Project Book
  • *Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year 2007 (*Outstanding merit)
  • CCBC Choices: 2007
  • Read On Wisconsin! (Selected for grades 6-8)
  • Selected for New Jersey Summer Reading Program 2011: One world, Many stories


What I'm working on now...

Right now I am working on an immigrant story. As in Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet, it centers on family and choices the young protagonist has to make.