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A Mango-Shaped Space Paperback – October 19, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Mia, 13, has always seen colors in sounds, numbers, and letters, a fact she has kept secret since the day she discovered that other people don't have this ability. Then she discovers that she has a rare condition called synesthesia, which means that the visual cortex in her brain is activated when she hears something. From then on, she leads a kind of double life-she eagerly attends research gatherings with other synesthetes and devours information about the condition, but continues to struggle at school, where her inadvertent pairing of particular colors with numbers and words makes math and French almost impossible to figure out. Her gradual abandonment of her frustrating school life in favor of the compelling world of fellow synesthetes and the unique things only they can experience seems quite logical, although readers may feel like shaking some sense into her. Finally, and rather abruptly, her extreme guilt at her beloved cat Mango's illness brings her back down to earth and she begins to work on some of the relationships she let crumble. Mia's voice is believable and her description of the vivid world she experiences, filled with slashes, blurs, and streaks of color, is fascinating. Not all of the many characters are necessary to the story, and some of the plot elements go unresolved, but Mia's unique way of experiencing the world is intriguing.
Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. This contemporary novel does for synesthesia what Terry Hesser's Kissing Doorknobs (1998) does for obsessive-compulsive disorder: the lively personal story demystifies a fascinating condition. For 13-year-old Mia Winchell, the world has always been filled with a wonderful, if sometimes dizzying, sensory onslaught--numbers, letters, words, and sounds all cause her to see a distinct array of colors. She keeps her unusual condition a secret until eighth grade, but then her color visions make math and Spanish impossibly confusing, and she must go to her parents and a doctor for help. However, this is more than a docu-novel. Mass beautifully integrates information about synesthesia with Mia's coming-of-age story, which includes her break with her best friend and her grief over her grandfather's death. The episode where Mia fabricates an illness to try out acupuncture for the color visions it produces is marvelously done, showing Mia's eagerness for new experiences even as it describes a synesthete's vision. References to a comprehensive Web site and bibliography about synesthesia are included. Debbie Carton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316058254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316058254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (318 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wendy Mass is the author of "A Mango-Shaped Space" and "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life," published by Little, Brown in November 2006. She lives with her family in Sparta, NJ.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on July 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mia has recently lost her grandfather. On the day of his funeral, she received a gift at the cemetery - an adorable "stray" kitten named Mango. No, he didn't have Mango colored fur, he exuded the color "Mango" from his little feline being. Mia, you see, has synesthesia, an unusual brain "abnormality" where she sees color in letters, in numbers, in names.

When we first meet Mia, she has kept her synesthesia hidden due to an unfortunate embarrassment in elementary school. Thankfully, she finally gets a name for what it is that makes her "different" and a new world begins to unfold for her.

Readers walk alongside Mia through stumbles with her closest friends, changes in her siblings, experimentation with what she learns about synesthesia. We are with Mia when she experiences yet another huge life loss... and survives.

What I gleaned, most of all, is how "normal" we all are, even in our "uniqueness". Wendy Mass writes cleanly and crisply and steers away from melodrama. She doesn't overwrite a word. I enjoyed reading this book possibly as much as my teen daughter, the owner of the book.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By e. rose on June 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As you sit in front of your computer screen, observing the slew of reviews posted on this popular website, I urge you to stop for a minute and please read what I about to share with you. I don't even know you, but I would be thrilled if you could read and absorb the experience I had when reading, "A Mango Shaped Space" by Wendy Mass and hopefully this will encourage you to pick up this book and enter a more colorful world. Now, I am not an avid reader I must admit, but when I find a great book...I am sure to share the title with as many friends as family as possibly. For they know when I say it's a wonderful book, it is! My beloved French teacher has the beautiful gift that Mia shares with us, in "A.M.S.S." My teacher told us the first day of class, she saw our names in color as she read from the class roster. We all thought she was kidding, you know those "first day of school teacher jokes" But when I read this book, the respect I had for my French teacher grew and I was more than curious to hear about her experience of living in a world more colorful than the average person. I gave her my copy and she told me as tears rolled down her cheeks that this book portrayed the world she lives in so vividly and accurately. So come on, read this book, from the first page to the last your eyes will glide across the black words and your heart will be encompassed with colors you never knew existed. Happy reading!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Chelsie Lacny on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Well, at first I was a little nervous about reading this book. Was it going to be like one of those books about someone who has a disease and just wants to get rid of it?

Well, no. Actually, Mia has a disease (not really a disease... but an abnormality) where sounds, numbers, and letters all have color for her. The colors are all different, and sometimes they make shapes and sometimes they're blobs.

Mia has been keeping this secret for years, ever since she was laughed at in third grade. But now, she's having trouble in math. And she needs to fix it.

This book was so emotional, and so unique, and so sad. While in the beginning I was a little scared, by the end I was crying. I didn't want it to end.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you haven't read this book already, you HAVE TO READ IT. Its the most impacting book I think I have ever read. I couldn't put the book down. Its about a girl named Mia who is [...] years old. She has a condition where she could see numbers, and letters all in color. When you read that it might sound boring but this is the most meaning full book there is. I don't even have words for it. She soon learns that her werid condition actually has a name. Its called synesthesia(which is real in real life). Her doctor, Jerry, told her about it. She found out other people have it too. But her synesthesia ends up effecting her friends,school, and more. The part in the book that is so impacting is when her beloved cat, Mango, dies. She got Mango when her grandfather died a couple years ago. Mango was a kitten and he was sitting next to her granfathers tombestone at the funeral. Mia knew she had to get that kitten. She thought it had some of her grandfather in the cat. But at the end of the book Mango dies when Mia takes the cat in their dads hellicopter when Mango starts whezzing, but as soon as her dad is ready to take off, Mango passes away in her arms.

She forces herself to get over it but its very hard. When she does a week or few days later at her parents friends house her and her brother find kittens there with the cat their friends have. Mia knows their related to Mango. She pets the little orange one that looks just like Mango and she sees a mustard colored yawn. That night she has a dream and when she wakes up she could smell the faint smell of mustard and she knows what she has to do.

It had a happy ending and this book made me cry twice. I knew exactly what she felt like when Mango died because its happened to me before too. Thats why it made me cry. This book is now my favorite book ever. Please you have to read it.
----Samantha C.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A funny, touching book about a teen-aged girl named Mia, who, because of a medical disorder, sees words and numbers in colors. How Mia learns to cope with her unusual gift (while also putting up with all the normal horrors associated with a typical teen girl's life) makes for an entertaining read for all ages. This one's got it all...cute boys, cats...not to be missed!
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