Hey guys! Today I’m spotlighting an AMAZING novel by Wendy Mass entitled, “A Mango-Shaped Space.” Now, let me just say, I love ALL of Wendy Mass’s books, ALL of them. She’s an amazing writer. And I knew that I wanted to do a review of one of her books this week. But there’s SO MANY. and they’re all SO GOOD….. I didn’t know which one to choose! But I was scrolling through a list of her books, and I got to this one, and I knew instantly this was the one I wanted to do. It left SUCH an impression on me… and I think it will do the same to anyone who takes the time to read it. I’m really excited about this review, and I hope I convey the feeling of this book across to you. I hope you love it as much as I do! Here goes:
Mia Winchell is 13 years old. And she is special. She discovered this in 3rd grade, when she is called up to the front to do a math problem on the board. She asks her teacher for colored chalk, because there is, to her, a certain color for each number and letter, and they can’t get mixed-up. Her classmates make fun of her, not understanding her view of the world; for indeed, it is different.
Mia is a synesthete. But she doesn’t know it. She believes that she is alone in her strange world where EVERYTHING, sounds and letters and numbers….. they all have a color. A color that no one else sees.
When Mia is twelve years old, her grandfather becomes very sick, and soon passes away. One day, while Mia is visiting her grave, she finds a kitten, a black-and-grey kitten. She believes that part of her grandfather’s soul lives in the kitten, so she takes him home, and soon names him “Mango,” because to her, his purrs look orange.
Mia is finding school to be harder and harder, the sound and the letters and numbers everywhere causing swirls of color to invade her vision. Finally, after failing 2 math quizzes, she tells her parents about her colorful otherworld. They don’t exactly believe her at first, but take her to a neurologist, who informs Mia that she is, in fact, a synesthete, and she is most definitely NOT alone. Synesthesia is a condition that affects only a fraction of people. It is generally heredity, and it is a condition is which certain pathways in your brain are open that aren’t normally open, for example when the part of your brain that deals with color and images.. is connected to the part of your brain that deals with numbers and letters, as it is for Mia. This causes strange connections between the two, meaning that when Mia tries to read…swirls of color coming from the letters block Mia’s vision, and make things difficult for her. Beautiful… but difficult.
This novel describes Mia’s journey as she tries to make her colorful world fit in with everyone else’ normal one, comes to terms with her grandfather’s death, and comes to realize how lucky she is, living in a special world only some people will ever know.
Until next week, I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope it inspired you to read this book….. and learn more about synesthesia, like it did for me. (Synesthesia IS real.. and it’s pretty awesome. Here’s a link to a website with some pretty awesome synesthete info: https://www.bu.edu/synesthesia/faq/ ) Bye!