The Dragon Whistler

The Dragon Whistler
Now available in paperback.


A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Wendy Mass is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. My son, my husband and I all read (separately) "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life" and love-love-loved it. (We all cried. All of us.) Ever since, I've been wanting to check out some of her other books and I found the title of this one intriguing. The story did not disappoint.

Mia is an unusual girl in that she has a "disorder" called synesthesia. I put disorder in quotes for two reasons. One, at first Mia doesn't realize she is any different than anyone else and two, because the synesthesia is not a detriment to Mia. Quite the opposite. So what is synesthesia? Well, if you have it you might taste bananas every time someone sneezes. Or you might see puffs of mango-colored clouds come out of your cat's mouth every time she breaths. Apparently, synesthesia is different for everyone, but it's a connection between your senses and for Mia it means she sees letters and numbers in color, and with patterns and texture.  When she hears sound, she sees shapes in the air before her eyes. Life has always been like this for her, and she doesn't know any different. Until she realizes that nobody else in her world experiences things the way she does. And from then on, Mia thinks something is wrong with her. She struggles in school, has few friends, and finally confides in her parents. I won't give away any more of the story, because the from there on out, the story pulls you along magnificently as Mia and her family work to find out what's going on.

And of course, Mia's beloved cat Mango (named for the color of her breath) plays a pivotal role in helping Mia discover that who you are is not always defined by what you can or cannot do.

As a reader, I was fascinated with synesthesia and loved discovering this subculture of people who experience the world in such a unique way. As a pet lover, this book broke my heart. Mia is totally believable in how she deals with her only friends, her classmates and her siblings. Once I hit the end of the first chapter, I literally couldn't put the book down -- the pacing is excellent and I was completely engaged in Mia's world. A rare 4.75 bookmarks for this one and I can't wait to read Wendy Mass' other books -- look for upcoming reviews on Leap Day and Heaven Looks A Lot Like The Mall.

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