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Book Review: A Mango-Shaped Space

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Although this book is 15 years old, it will touch the hearts of its readers for years to come. A Mango-Shaped Space is one of Wendy Mass’s most successful novels, winning the Schneider Family Book Award for honoring artistic expression of the disability experience.

The young adult novel follows the life of a 13-year-old girl, named Mia, who seems to be the most normal in her crazy family. She has a younger brother who is extremely superstitious and an older sister who dyes her hair a different color every week. The only thing is that Mia has synesthesia, a condition that causes her to associate colors with sounds, numbers, and letters. When Mia reveals this to her family and friends, her life is turned upside down and she must go through an emotional ride to find her true self.

The book starts when Mia was in third grade. She is doing a math problem on the board and decides to use different colored chalk to match what she sees. The teacher tells her to just use white chalk, but she refuses, making a scene. She is briefly sent to the principal’s office and finally gives up explaining, saying that she lied about numbers having colors. This moment scars her, causing her to keep her unique condition a secret until she’s a teenager, flunking her math class. Mia goes through the typical troubles as a teen: having fights with her best friend, struggling to find herself, and not paying enough attention to what she really cares about, but also must go through the stress of figuring out what her condition is.

Wendy Mass shows great knowledge of synesthesia and her novel relates to synesthetes and teenagers going through similar struggles. Every character, from Mia’s cat, Mango, to a young boy that Mia meets in the grocery store has a smooth character development. Each character comes to life in the reader’s mind. The ending was brief, but all in all, it is worth reading because of a special and strong plot.

Overall, A Mango Shaped-Space is a beautifully written novel and deserves all of the recognition it gets. The story is very unique and allows others to learn about this unvisited condition, called synesthesia. Teenagers and young adults would enjoy this fun and interesting read. A Mango Shaped-Space is an emotional roller for all of its readers, causing them to want more as they flip the last page.

 

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Book Review: A Mango-Shaped Space