Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

I recommend this book for: middle and high school

Mia is 13 and sees colors - words, names, sounds, and numbers all have colors for her. She has kept it secret since she figured out that she was the only one, but the truth has finally come out. She has synesthesia, and although it is rare, she's not the only one. Life is suddenly different in a big way - she has an online community of people who understand how she sees things to support her and recommend ways of coping with and celebrating her uniqueness, but on the other hand, her best friend is furious with her for keeping the secret, her parents don't understand, and her failing math grade isn't getting much better. Can she balance these two worlds?

This was an intriguing book that really showed what it might be like to live with synesthesia and provided good information without sacrificing the storyline. Mia's withdrawal from the people who loved her most in favor of those she thought would understand her better was believable, and the trigger that brought her back equally so. The characters were mostly well-drawn and realistic, and the relationships compelling. There was really only one problem I had with the book - I find it difficult to believe that any licensed professional would provide acupuncture to a 13-year old without a parent's permission. Otherwise, though, this was a completely engrossing read.

What the pros said.

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