Book of the Week: ‘A Mango-Shaped Space’

A Mango-Shaped Space

Wendy Mass

2003, 218 pages

Middle School Fiction

Mia Winchell found out the hard way that she was different from other people. In third grade she was embarrassed in front of her class at school. Since then she has scrupulously hidden her unusual sense perceptions. To her, letters, numbers and sounds are accompanied by colors. Before the fateful day, she figured that everyone saw the world as she did. After the day, her glorious perceptions became a dark secret that she must hide, to avoid being labeled a “freak.”

But in seventh grade, the dam cracked. Algebra, involving the manipulation of numbers and letters together, brought down her wall of secrecy. Suddenly, she, her family and her friends have to understand her in a new way.

And so, Mia discovers that she has synesthesia, an unusual but harmless condition in the brain. Mia’s parents are relieved to know that it’s not an illness, but Mia still has to fight the battle of being different, at an age where fitting in can be all important.

Young readers will enjoy the details of Mia’s life: her cat named Mango, her BFF, her dated dial-up computer. All readers will appreciate Mia’s spunkiness and growth as she comes to terms with her true self.

Tricia Hutchins

Concord Public Library

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Author: Insider Staff

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