The funny thing about being so immersed on the queer bookternet is that you can learn a lot about a book without reading it. Some books or authors come up again and again in queer book discussions, especially if the author is active online. I’ve been hearing about The Second Mango for years now and always meant to read it, especially because Shira Glassman always has such great recommendations for queer women books.
The reason I was putting off reading it, though, was that some part of me was nervous: what if I didn’t like it? The Second Mango promised to be a fantastic, fluffy, diverse read, with an author I think is great, so how disappointing would it be if I wasn’t a fan? Luckily, my fears were unfounded.
Basically, everything I’ve heard about this book is entirely accurate. It’s a queer woman story set in a Jewish fantasy setting. Plus there’s a dragon! It’s also a quick read, both in terms of writing style and page count (140 pages). One aspect that I really enjoyed was the friendship between the protagonist, Shulamit, and her bodyguard, Rivka. Rivka is straight, but the two become close friends very quickly.
What I did find a little puzzling was that the M/F couple in this novel have a sex scene that is detailed, while the F/F scene fades to black. For a book that is usually firmly placed the “lesbian” category, that seemed odd.
I did also regret not reading this sooner, because after years of hearing about it, I was pretty familiar with the plot. It was still a fun, fluffy read, and I’ve heard that the series improves from here, so I definitely intend to continue with it!