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One Plus One Equals Blue Hardcover – April 30, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805094059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094053
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,792,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Basil has just started seventh grade after being homeschooled by his hippie-era grandmother. At first he thinks he wants to make friends with other students, but he soon decides that he is just too freaky and different to ever have any friends. In October, when Tenzie shows up at school, everything changes. She is pushy and determined to befriend Basil, whether he likes it or not. When he finds out that Tenzie sees numbers as colors, too, he is prompted to do some research. He discovers that they both have the same neurological condition, only Tenzie's synesthesia helps her with math, whereas Basil's makes him hopelessly confused. Life gets topsy-turvy when Basil's mother, who abandoned him seven years earlier, shows up in town. Basil is wary of Carly, but Tenzie is enamored-the woman is beautiful, glamorous, and claims to be an actress. When she abruptly leaves town once again, Tenzie convinces Basil to run away with her and find Carly. The kids go on a harrowing journey only to discover that everything they need is back home. Synesthesia is an important bond between Basil and Tenzie, and readers are led to believe that the condition is going to be more central to the plot, but this is primarily an engaging story of a boy coming to terms with the shortcomings of his mother. It's a nice companion to Wendy Mass's A Mango-Shaped Space (Little, Brown, 2003), which also incorporates synesthesia.-Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Basil is a loner, probably because of his “freakism” of mentally associating numbers with different colors. Then capital-Q quirky Tenzie (“her personality was like the brass section of a band”) arrives at school and befriends him—she won’t take no for an answer. Soon Tenzie reveals that she, too, sees colors in her mind. It’s a rather stiff start for the novel—it seems unlikely that neither kid would have searched the Internet to learn about synesthesia before meeting each other, and there’s a didactic quality to description of the condition. Thankfully, a plot emerges with the arrival of Basil’s mother, Carly, who disappeared seven years ago to try to make it in Hollywood. Carly is a rich character: charismatic, full of good intent, and quick to excite, but lacking the ability to follow anything through. It’s easy to see the attraction she holds for both kids—as well as the disappointment that surely is coming. Though slow to start, this sensitive novel has a fittingly tough and bittersweet finish. Grades 5-8. --Daniel Kraus

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 11 customer reviews
Very interesting story line and great way to understand a unique trait.
bubblysteph7
Albeit Tenzie helps Basil through this difficult time in his life, she’s, unfortunately, not the solution that you would like for her to be.
Amazon Customer
This is one of the best books l ever read and I wish it never ended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jason Ojalvo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What lured me to One Plus One Equals Blue was the fact that the two main characters both have synesthesia, which I find fascinating and magical. Though One Plus One Equals Blue did not turn out to focus heavily on synesthesia itself, this novel is still a great read, and one sure to please middle grade readers. Auch's novel focuses primarily on accepting oneself and learning to appreciate the good things in life.

Since I read so much young adult fiction, it's always nice to read middle grade, which generally focuses more on family dynamics and friendship than on romance. Basil Feeney is an outcast. Having been homsechooled up until the seventh grade, he had little chance of popularity. However, what sealed his fate as the biggest loser in school was when he told his friend why he was so bad at math: the numbers appear to him as colors, and some of the colors are repeated. Ever since, he's been a freak, isolated from everyone else.

When a weird new girl, Tenzie, arrives, she throws his world for a loop. She sits at his lunch table (errr, desk), joins him on the bus, and invites herself over after school. Tenzie is just about the biggest pest he could ever imagine, and the cover captures his early attitude perfectly. He doesn't want her to get him noticed, and doesn't want to get close to her only to have her make fun of him later for being a freak. Plus, she takes his grandmother's attention away from him where it belongs.

When he realizes that she also sees numbers as colors, though, they really begin to develop a friendship. With some research, he realizes that they are not alone, and that what they are is synesthetic.
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Format: Hardcover
One + One = Blue was, for me, one of those unassuming titles that just happened to creep into my life at the perfect time. When I received it, I thought the cover and premise were cute, and that it'd be one of those nice little contemporary middle grade stories about friendship and bonding over your similar differences from the larger group. I'd probably think it was good, but it probably wouldn't stick with me for any length of time because, really, it's just another contemporary middle grade. But then, the day I happened to sit down to read One + One = Blue also happened to be a day that I was inwardly raging about bad parents who were a drain on their children's lives, and several hours later I looked up having turned the last page, finding MJ Auch's latest to be one of the most cathartic reading experiences I'd had in some time.

A blurb that is somewhat misleading, One + One = Blue appears to be a novel about children with synesthesia and the bond of friendship that is formed when you realize that someone shares your "freakism". For me, it was hardly about friendship at all-it was more a book about family dynamics, and realizing that where one belongs does not always follow the most traditional sense of family. The kids involved, Basil and Tenzie, just happen to have synesthesia, a neurological condition in which senses get crossed resulting in a person's ability to experience sounds in relation to movement, taste in relation to texture, or, in this case, color in relation to numbers. Synesthesia creates a bond between the two characters, a gift MJ Auch shares herself, highlighting a rare but fascinating and varied condition in a way that adds to the story but is recognizably not the story itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Martin VINE VOICE on May 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Basil tells his story in ONE + ONE = BLUE. He has just started middle school after years of being homeschooled. He has settled in at the bottom of the social latter partially because he hasn't ever had any contact with other kids and partially because he has synesthesia which has him associating numbers with colors.

When new kid Tenzie pushes her way into friendship with him, his life expands. At first he is rude and hurtful to her and completely lacking in empathy. But her constant presence begins to grow on him. the friendship grows when he learns that she has synesthesia too.

Neither kid has a stellar home life. Tenzie's parents are neglectful. She says she comes in after her mother's canary in the family pecking order. Basil has a great relationship with his Gram who has raised him since his mother abandoned him for life in Hollywood when he was five. Now his mother is coming home and wants to be his mother. Carly and Tenzi form a close relationship because Tenzie want to be an actress. Things seem to be going along well; Carly gets the job directing the school play, but then things fall apart. It has been Carly's pattern to give up and move on when things get tough.

When Carly leaves, Tenzie convinces Basil to run away from home with her to find Carly. She is sure that Carly wants them both and that they will all soon be living the good life in Hollywood. Basil is much more reluctant because he has more common sense and a clearer view of Carly.

This story was a good exploration of friendship and a good story about what a real family is. Middle grade readers will enjoy getting to know both Basil and Tenzie.
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