Megan's Reviews > Mango-Shaped Space

Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: audio-book, young-adult, favorites
Read from November 09 to 11, 2011

With the rise in popularity of YA novels, I think that somehow we have all forgotten what it is like to actually be a teenager. Even the better (and some of my favorite) YA's feature a girl who is clever, has great self-esteem, and knows who she is. One of the many excellent aspects of A Mango-Shaped Space is that 13 (or is it 14?) year old Mia is not only a cool protagonist, she is also a bit childlike. Granted, she is younger than the typical YA heroine, but she has a bit of naivety and immaturity that is missing from so many YA novels. It was refreshing to find it here.

A Mango-Shaped Space is the story of Mia as she enters the eighth grade and confronts her synesthesia, a condition in which her senses are mingled. For Mia, each letter, number and word has a color associated with it. Even noises and physical sensations evoke a specific color or shape for her. For years she kept this a secret from others, but she has finally decided to share her condition with the world.

But this isn't just a book about synesthesia. It is also a well written coming of age story. Mia has the predictable fights with her BFF (Oh, I had forgotten how some girls are so emotional and sensitive at that age!) She starts to notice boys. And not the super-suave and impossibly cool boys found in so many YA's. These boys are definitely not sophisticated playa's. They are dorky, awkward teenage boys. Not at all swoon worthy, but painfully reminiscent of that weird hormonal puppy love we all experienced before developing actual relationships. As the middle child, Mia has a not-too-annoying little brother, and a bitchy older sister. There are fairly involved parents and the star of the story, a cat named Mango. (Okay, Mia is the star of the story. But Mango does play a large role in the book (view spoiler)

A Mango-Shaped Space is a book I can’t praise enough. It is a fantastic middle grade read, but I whole heartedly recommend it for all adult lovers of YA as well. My only critique of it is that it has an old fashioned feel to it. In fact, if not for the mention of computers and internet this book could have just as easily been written in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. A lot of the narrative and the tone of the story somehow reminded me of the YA books I read when I was in middle school. It’s not just the mention of kids running an actual lemonade stand (with drinks made from real lemons),feety pajamas, braided friendship bracelets, or the small town feel of the novel. It’s something about the tone of the novel which makes it seem older than it is. But in a way, that is so refreshing. Again, YA is often about strong heroines, issues, true-lurve, or some wacky paranormal mystery. But this is simply a sweet, well written story about growing up.
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Reading Progress

03/13/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-18)

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message 18: by Flannery (new) - added it

Flannery Was this a reread on audio or is this your first time though?

Megan My first time with this one.

message 16: by Flannery (new) - added it

Flannery That's just what I wanted to hear:) (that I could listen to the audio first!)

message 15: by Megan (last edited Nov 13, 2011 10:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megan The woman who reads does a weird young girl thing with her voice, but it is easy to get used to.

Since the book is about synesthesia, it would be cool (although probably quite expensive!) if there was a print version with the letters, numbers & names in Mia's colors. Plus Mia is a painter, so lots of illustrations could go with the book as well. But alas, I'm pretty sure that such a copy does not exist :P

message 14: by Flannery (new) - added it

Flannery A "weird young girl thing"? Yikes:) I still put it on hold.

That would be pretty cool and I bet it could be done. Have you read any of the Shiver series? Those have different colored ink. And the ARC of Legend I read had alternating silver and gold ink. Actually, now that I've facepalmed I realize that you said such a copy didn't exist, not that it couldn't:)

Megan I just get the impression that the reader is making her voice sound high-pitched, instead of having a naturally youthful voice. Or maybe I am just cynical :) Somehow, I always get irked by the readers of YA audio. I wish the powers that be would just let real teens read them instead of adults "acting" as teens.

Haven't read either Shiver or Legend. Silver & gold ink sounds lovely though!

Spider the Doof Warrior I did like this book.
But synesthesia is not a disability.
Synesthesia is AWESOME! YAY!

Megan Synesthesia wrote: "I did like this book.
But synesthesia is not a disability.
Synesthesia is AWESOME! YAY!"

Synesthesia sounds awesome, especially after reading this book. All of Mia's experiments reminded me of my own teenage experiments ~ but unfortunately mine were of the chemical variety ;) I was so jealous of Mia's bath & acupuncture.

Spider the Doof Warrior yeah. I haven't had that experience in the bath. Maybe I should try the acupuncture.
It gets stronger though. Music is a sensory drug trip for me.

Megan It all sounds so interesting :)

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Excellent review, Megan! I have to read this after really enjoying Ultraviolet. It sounds great! (and the comments by Synesthesia are cool too!)

Megan Thanks :) Being realistic YA, it gives a completely different take on synsthesia than what is in Ultraviolet.

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim Yes, an excellent point. And very delicately phrased! :)

Kaethe You liked it much more than I did. While I'm happy to read about synesthesia, I had a number of problems with the way the story was told.

Katrina Hailie Mclain Love this book! I cried!

message 3: by kat (new) - rated it 4 stars

kat vdhhdbdj

message 2: by Annabeth (new)

Annabeth Hehehejb

Emma Nathan I think that personally you guys are making such a big deal on how she described it and if it is that big of a deal then just think of the things she has done right. Because you are not making me want to read this book even all reviews except for a couple have been good and thought the book was amazing.

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