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One Plus One Equals Blue

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  572 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Twelve year-old Basil knows he’s special—he’s been associating numbers with colors since he was a kid. His gift (or curse) has turned him into somewhat of a loner, but his world begins to change when he meets Tenzie, the new girl in school who has similar freakisms. She, too, has synesthesia (a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another). At ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,810)
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
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, whi
...more
Heidi
Apr 23, 2013 Heidi rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Cheryl
Jun 11, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it
Oh, I wanted to love this. And so much of it is charming. But it's really a MG book (not YA, as shelved by my library and as cover art implies) and is just too simple, too earnest, too sunny, to warrant 4 stars. Teens, with angst, more smarts or at least experience, and more independence, would have told the story better, imo.

Elaine
May 14, 2014 Elaine rated it did not like it
Basil thinks he’s alone in his ability to see numbers as colors until he meets Tenzie. She has an entire mental grid of number and color combinations. Their disclosure and Tenzie’s explanation that she knows others who have this mental quirk lead Basil to do research and find its name: synesthesia. Basil and Tenzie proceed to become friends after Basil’s initial reluctance, and they conquer some bullies, reunite (briefly and unhappily) with Basil’s absent mother, and confront (briefly and unhapp ...more
Nafiza
Mar 25, 2013 Nafiza rated it liked it
Meet Basil. He has got synesthesia which is an interesting disorder that causes you to experience two sensations at the same time (ish). He’s 12 years old and also, rather firmly, attached to his position as the class loser. Then there’s Tenzie. She’s also 12 and she also has synesthesia.

Both of them have parental issues. Basil’s mom abandoned him when he was a baby and he has no idea who his dad is. But he lives with his grandmother who is pretty darned cool in a superawesome house. Tenzie’s si
...more
Jenni Arndt
Apr 12, 2013 Jenni Arndt rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-own
I was so excited when I picked up ONE + ONE = BLUE and saw that the book deals with synesthesia. When I read about the condition in R.J. Anderson’s ULTRAVIOLET I quickly became fascinated with how people associate every day things with colors, or taste emotions. Could imagine being able to smell fear? M.J. Auch didn’t delve into the logistics as much as I was hoping she would, but with this novel we got a really cute story about relationships and family.

Basil is a 12 year old boy who has just en
...more
J.C.
Nov 10, 2015 J.C. rated it liked it
I wasn’t impressed. The story was decent enough, I guess, but it was just so flat. From reviews I’d read, I’d expected something touching and an amazing chronicle of synesthesia, but instead I found a juvenile story of a boy struggling with the fact that his mother dumped him, and the difference a friend has on him.

Though at first glance this appears to be a story about synesthia, it really only is an element. The real story is about Basil, a boy raised by his grandmother ever since his mother,
...more
Lynn
Jun 04, 2014 Lynn rated it liked it
One plus one equals blue is about seventh grade boy named Basil who lives with his grandma and has synesthesia. It is his first year not being home schooled and he makes a friend with a girl named Tenzie, later found out she also has synesthesia too. Both Tenzie and Basil don't see there parents very often. Basil's mom decide to come back home from Hollywood after trying to become a star and not see her son for 7 years. Again after making promises with Basil and Tenzie she leaves because of argu ...more
Brad Sells
Apr 19, 2013 Brad Sells rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-own
Wow. One Plus One Equals Blue is a beautiful and heart-wrenching read that made me happy, made me sad, and most of all, kept me engaged the entire time.

This book is filled with so many emotions. Our main character, Basil, made me really connect with him. I felt bad for him whenever he would be bullied or picked on by kids in his class, and I really appreciated that bullying and the affects it has on kids was thrown into the book. And since we got to see through the eyes of someone who has a disa
...more
Alice
This book is too childish. I think, i'd liked it in my 10 or so. I don't understand, why it was on 'young adults' bookshelf.
On the one hand, phenomenon of synesthesia is interesting, but on the other hand, life of Basil and his grandmother is such utopia, I didn't really understand some of his actions, as well as Tenzie's expectations about Carly, and of course Carly's actions. In my 12 I was more adult, I think.
So, I rate "One plus one equals blue" as 3/5.
Wendy Darling
The blurb for One + One = Blue is a little misleading. The focus appears to be on 12-year-old Basil's synesthesia, but that turns out to be just one part of the story. Liked, but didn't love.

The full text of this review may be found in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Clare
Aug 28, 2015 Clare rated it it was amazing
I absolutely recommend this to anyone ever. this is such a good book. It focuses on a boy who has something called "synesthesia". Which is where you see numbers as colors, or words as colors, or even some of your senses are crossed. Like if you see a truck driving past you smell bacon. 100% clean. I recommend this to anyone!

A full review will be coming on my channel soon! youtube.com/stellanator
Melissa
Apr 18, 2014 Melissa rated it it was ok
This was kind of a disappointing book...
Its about a 12y old boy and just couldn't get into the story.
I'm sure for younger people this book would be great, but not for me.
Melissa
Sep 26, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
The plot was pretty far-fetched, but this was the best description of synesthesia I've ever come across. It doesn't surprise me that the author has synesthesia herself.
Julia (booksforjulia)
Feb 25, 2016 Julia (booksforjulia) rated it really liked it
really interesting story, but there wasn't as much focus on the characters conditions as I would've liked.
Jacquelyn
Oct 18, 2015 Jacquelyn rated it liked it
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars
Meganbutler
Sep 25, 2015 Meganbutler rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book was BORING. Every time I put it down, there was absolutely nothing to make me want to pick it back up again. I didn't like the main character, Basil, I really didn't like Tenzie, the Grandmother didn't do anything - she was basically irrelevant. The only character who even moderately stirred this novel's bland pot was Basil's estranged mom, Carly.

I also felt as I was reading that this book was supposed to teach me something and be kind of a friendship/ character development/ family/ s
...more
Stormy
One Plus One Equals Blue has made me come to the conclusion that realistic middle grade books are not for me. And that’s okay! I’m not the target audience anyway, obviously. However, I don’t think 12-year-old Stormy would have liked this book much either.

One Plus One Equals Blue starts out by introducing us to Basil. Basil has a form of synesthesia in which he sees numbers as colors, and it’s made him “weird” in school. Up until the current school year, his grandmother had taught him at home, so
...more
Sophie Mallinson
Feb 18, 2015 Sophie Mallinson rated it did not like it
no
Becketblahblahblah
Oct 14, 2014 Becketblahblahblah rated it really liked it
I know, it sounds like some Fifty Shades of Grey spinoff, but it's a very good book with a very real story and characters.
A quick synopsis, but not too much, because I honestly would like for you to read it as well. Basil is an eighth grader with no friends and a very strange gift (how original is this sounding) called synesthesia. This sensual condition is very common and strange, and it involves language, perception and your senses. Sounds might have colors and shapes, letters and days of th
...more
Sophia
I want to give this three stars due to the second half of the book, however the weak writing and basically non-existent plot makes me take off at least half a star. Also, the summary of the book (it being about rarely talked about mental quirks in young children and how it affects their day to day lives.) was terribly misleading, as very little of it was actually about what it advertised.

HOWEVER. I loved, love loved the relationship between Basil and his mother Carly and how it was written/prese
...more
Alex Murphy
Jun 25, 2014 Alex Murphy rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-owned
I had no expectations for this book, and this book gave me nothing. It was only ok and I am ridiculously happy I paid nothing for it. Following a boy whose numbers are colors instead and his system makes no sense to himself or anyone else and how he went from being home schooled by his hippie grandma to having to go to a regular school. It's been done, and better. So fine....

He has no friends and the one he made dropped him when he found out about the number/color thing. And for some reason inst
...more
Grace Harries
Jun 05, 2014 Grace Harries rated it really liked it
Wow! Okay, so, I just finished this book and just..... wow.
Can I just say - I wish I could be more like Tenzie. I LOVE her character. She is the best thing that could have happened to Basil.
So, only about the first half of the book was about the number color thing, and the other half focused on Carly. There wasn't much character development honestly, but there was just something about this book that made me love it. That's why I gave it four stars - for the abrupt change in the story line, and
...more
Siri K.
May 12, 2014 Siri K. rated it really liked it
Shelves: form-i-shelf
In One+One=Blue by M.J. Auch, the theme is that being different is okay. This story tells the readers about Basil, a 12-year-old boy, who has synesthesia. Synesthesia is a disorder that makes people associate numbers with colors. Basil lives with his grandmother. His mom left Basil to pursue her acting dream, or so he thinks. One day, Tenzie and her family movies into town and turns his whole life around. She also has synesthesia. When Carly, Basil's mother comes back to town, Basil has one ques ...more
Amy Fournier
Apr 19, 2013 Amy Fournier rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, middle-grade, own
I love middle grade books and I don't read nearly enough of them. This one sounded so good and I really love the cover. It was actually much different than I was expecting, but I still did really enjoy it. I had never read a book about this particular issue, and I was really interested in it. It's something I have heard of, but nothing I really knew anything about. I was really hoping that the book would go more into it, but unfortunately it fell short on that part, but I really enjoyed getting ...more
Laurel
I'm a little conflicted about is book. Honestly, I don't think I would have read it if it had not been for the fact that the main character and his friend had synesthesia. Not that it was bad, but just that it wouldn't have necessarily stood out to me. I wasn't expecting this to be too much of a thought provoking book, but I did want there to be more about the synesthesia than just a quick way to bond with someone, only to hardly ever mention it again. I read "A Mango Shaped Space" a while ago, ...more
Vi (the Vi3tBabe)
Apr 25, 2013 Vi (the Vi3tBabe) rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, reviewed, 3-stars
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this. The cover makes it look light and fun, the synopsis adds a bit of seriousness to it, but after reading it I found that it’s a lot more emotional and “real”. I felt like Auch tackled Synesthesia enough so readers could get a decent sense of what it is and how it’s different for everyone who has it, while also weaving in intricately with a sweet and innocent story of two kids finding common ground and changing each other for the better. What you ...more
Briana
Mar 31, 2013 Briana rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Source: ARC from the publisher for review

Review: One + One = Blue is an exceptional book with a unique tone and story. It dives right into Basil’s story and right into his differences. It does not focus on Basil’s synesthesia however. Instead, synesthesia is in the background, a part of Basil’s life that makes him special, that gives him both trouble and advantages, but which is never his defining feature. The true story here is that of Basil’s’s relationships, particularly with Tenzie and with
...more
Hilary
Sep 13, 2013 Hilary rated it really liked it
Seventh-grader Basil feels isolated because he mentally associates numbers with unique colors. He has no idea that anyone else experiences numbers this way, until he meets Tenzie, a brassy newcomer to his neighborhood and school. Tenzie also sees numbers as colors, and together they form a tentative friendship, as Basil and Tenzie learn about synesthesia. The descriptions of the condition ring true, possibly because Auch also experiences synesthesia. Readers will find that synesthesia only serve ...more
Aeicha
May 14, 2013 Aeicha rated it liked it
As soon as a learned that MJ Auch's One Plus One Equals Blue explored synesthesia, I just knew I had to read it. Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another. I've been completely fascinated by this condition for years and was really looking forward to meeting Auch's two main characters, Basil and Tenzie, who have this gift. While I found One Plus One Equals Blue to be an enjoyable middle-grade read, it turned out to be quite different ...more
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202355
Mary Jane Auch also writes as MJ Auch.

The thought of becoming a writer never occurred to MJ Auch as a child. Her only literary efforts in those days were the plays which she and her girlfriend, Noreen, wrote for their marionettes. They produced these extravaganzas in Noreen’s garage and organized the neighborhood boys into a sales force to sell tickets and refreshments.

Summer visits to both of MJ’
...more
More about Mary Jane Auch...

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“You got pretty popular for a while there.'
'For about forty-eight hours,' I said. 'Just long enough to figure out that I don't want to be popular.”
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