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A Mango-Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass

May 29, 2009

mangoLet me explain the problem in this book: a girl named Mia has a disease called synaesthesia, and what it basically means is that when she hears a sound, she sees colors and shapes. For example, if someone has this disease and you snap your fingers they might see red designs or spirals in the air. In the beginning of the book Mia thinks that everyone has synaesthesia, so she doesn’t tell her parents until towards the end of the book. So by the time she tells them, they don’t believe her, because she has never talked about it before.

Finally, when Mia tells them about her experiences, they see a doctor to find out what’s the matter. Is this  normal or not? When they talk with the doctor, he tells them about a place where a bunch of people have synasthesia meet and she learns a lot about it and other kinds of synaesthesia.  One person married her husband because when someone said his name she would get the taste of buttered popcorn in her mouth.  One of the main characters in the book is Mia’s cat, named Mango, because whenever she purrs, Mia sees a mango color.

I recommend this book to people that are animal lovers or people that are sympathetic towards people and their pets, because you really can’t connect with this book if you aren’t like that, I don’t think.

If you liked this book you will also like Perfect by Natasha Friend, which is a book about a girl with an eating disorder. Some other books by Wendy Mass are: 11 Birthdays, Every Soul A Star, Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. These are teen issue, mixed genre, and free verse novels. One thing I really like about Wendy Mass: she doesn’t write the same genre every time. I don’t think there is a comparable author to Wendy Mass; I think she has her own way of writing that is unique. A lot of books I have read are just like another book or series; it’s like re-reading.

This story takes place mostly in Mia’s home, in her bedroom, and some specific places like the woods, fields, her school, their helicopter, and with the group of people with synaesthesia. The reason I tell you this is because I was a bit lost with all the setting changes.

The “So What?” or theme of this book is to try and live a normal life no matter what, because at one point in the book Mia is really disappointed about having this disease; she just wants to be a normal human being.  The main character, Mia, thinks positively, and she gets over guilt easily. She is unique because she thinks differently in a cool and fun way, cautious because she is always looking after herself and her brother and sister, and forgiving because whenever someone makes her feel bad, she always forgives them immediately and forgets everything that just happened.

This book left me feeling jealous, sad, happy and amazed. The reason why I say jealous is because I really wish I could see shapes and colors, because I love art and colors, so it would be really fun for me.  I was sad was because I didn’t want the book to end and I just wanted it to keep going. I also felt happy because it was one of the best books I have ever read.  I was amazed because I had no idea that this disease ever existed, and it was really fun to read about. That’s why I rate A Mango Shaped Shape a ten.


Publisher:  Little, Brown Young Readers, 240 pages

Read more about this title on Amazon.com

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