A Mango-Shaped Space (paperback)
by Wendy Mass
AR level 4.7, 9 points
This is the story of Mia, an eighth grader with a condition called synesthesia. That means she has some wires crossed in her brain, so she sees colors when she hears noises. Letters and numbers have assigned colors, names have specific colors and textures, and certain sounds cause textured color to appear. For example, her alarm clock causes spirals and the purr of her cat is an orange cloud. Can you imagine that?! While I was reading, I pictured what the movie would look like. Talk about special effects!
Mia first spoke out about her synesthesia in third grade, and she got in trouble and made fun of for this special ability. Some even felt she belonged in a special education class, even though her visions are more of an ability than a disability. When her synesthesia becomes public knowledge, it is a time of transition for Mia. She is going through a very hormonal time in her life as a new teenager. She has a best friend who isn’t always supportive, and she is a middle child. Boys come into the picture, which is enough to make any normal girl go nuts. Mia and her family are also mourning the loss of her grandfather, who was a very important figure in her life. Fortunately, she has a kitty and a supportive family to see her through a trying time in her life as her synesthesia brings her both joy and frustration.
What I liked about this book is the detail that is used to describe the colors and textures that Mia sees. This is obviously not something I have ever experienced, but it is a real condition that I’d never heard of. Her friends and classmates did not react the way we would hope they would, but Mia was able to rise above their immaturity. I guess she also showed her own immaturity in her own way.
What I didn’t like about this book is the animal at the end. Ugh. I can’t deal with that, and I won’t spoil the ending. I also don’t like that it didn’t show the consequences of Mia cheating or avoiding her school work. She didn’t get into trouble. She should have reaped the consequences.
So not the greatest book I’ve ever read, but really, it was pretty good. I definitely recommend it.
Book 41 of 52