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A Mango-Shaped Space

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  29,250 ratings  ·  2,882 reviews
Mia Winchell appears to be a typical kid, but she's keeping a big secret—sounds, numbers, and words have color for her. No one knows, and Mia wants to keep it that way. But when trouble at school finally forces Mia to reveal her secret, she must learn to accept herself and embrace her ability, called synesthesia, a mingling of the senses. ...more
Paperback, 221 pages
Published October 19th 2005 by Little, Brown and Company
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Sylvie Gromada I cried so much. I am so emotional I cry over books, I cry over movies, I cry when bugs die, and basically over anything.
Siv I don't understand why her name confuses you...? It's her name. Nor do I understand the comment about unhealthy family relationships. They seemed like…moreI don't understand why her name confuses you...? It's her name. Nor do I understand the comment about unhealthy family relationships. They seemed like a pretty average family to me, different personalities bouncing off each other at different times in different ways.(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  29,250 ratings  ·  2,882 reviews

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Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
Having strong synesthesia myself, I was not very pleased with the way it is portrayed in this book. I understand that Mass does not have synesthesia herself and that this lack of experience clearly makes it difficult for her to portray the condition accurately. Nonetheless, throughout the novel, she either makes synesthesia seem like a harrowing handicap or divine euphoria. Honestly, it's neither. I think Mass made it seem greater than what it actually is. I've never encountered a synesthete who ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
First of all, synesthesia is not a disability. You wish you had it. Since it's my username and something I have, I have personal experience on the subject.
My sort of synethesia equals seeing colours in music based on the key, smelling music, tasting it. Feeling the texture of it on my skin. Songs can have a temperature or a time of day like as song can be in the key of D or something and feel like a night sort of song or in the key of D minor and be grey like an overcast day.
I can also taste wor
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 immatu ...more
Dec 09, 2010 added it
I read "A Mango Shaped Space" in sixth grade.

Let me tell you, this book drastically changed my life.

This book isn't about mangos, it's about a young girl named Mia, who associates numbers, letters, sounds, days of the week, and months with colors. This isn't a disease, it isn't a disorder, it's simply a condition, or as I usually refer to it, a gift, or a blessing. It's called Synesthesia (sin-es-tee-ja).

I read this book, and contemplated Mia. It sure sounded awfully familiar...

When I was in pr
Elle (ellexamines)
It's been eight years since I've read this this, and the message of this book still might be one of the most moral repugnant I've ever seen. What's saddest is that A Mango Shaped Space could be a great book, were it not for the terrible moral of the story.

So. A Mango Shaped Space is about a girl who begins a journey to learn who she is and accept her own synesthesia. Along the way, she makes friends at conventions for people with synesthesia. She even learns that acupuncture feels really good fo
Synesthesia is not at all how Mass portrays it in the book. Since you are born with it, you don't remember a timer when "Dave" did not taste like turnips. You don't get scared of it, and its not really something that interferes with your social life. Sure, the occasional "whats the color of my name?" tactic or the "what color is chicken?", but never that someone stops being your friend. When you figure out that other people don't see what you see, you just end up wondering why the heck Tuesday i ...more
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, owned
This book has to be one of my all-time favorite contemporary books. I don't read too many of these types of books, but this surprised me.

“I open my eyes and stare at the page. I see the black letters. But I also see the pinks and greens and purples and yellows. I can’t say I’m surprised.”

I admire Wendy Mass's work and this one has especially opened my eyes to things I wouldn't know existed. She writes about so many interesting topics, such as synesthesia in this book.

“All those people in their b
Aug 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: tweens
Here's what I like about A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass: The plot is extremely interesting and really, for lack of a better word, new. Mass talks about a condition that most people have never even heard of and she just runs with it.

Here's what I don't like: Mass is at pains throughout the novel to make sure everyone knows her narrator is young. I also have mixed feelings about it winning an award (the Kaplan award I believe) for artistically representing life with a disability.

Here's some in
🎀 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙛𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙜𝙤/𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙞 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙜, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙞 𝙖𝙢 𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙩 𝙣𝙤𝙬
a book directed at kids has a relationship between a minor and an adult.
a book. directed at impressionable kids. normalizes minor-adult romance.
what do you think the kids who are reading this book might do?
at that age, seeing even one action in media can influence a kid. how many times have you tried jumping off a high platform as a child because you saw someone in a movie do it?
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: formystudents
A Mango-Shaped Space (2003) is a novel by Wendy Mass. This brilliant book is about Mia, a thirteen year old girl living with synesthesia. Her synesthesia causes her problems in school, with friends, and just having her parents understand her. For example, Mia first experiences ridicule at the hands of her third-grade classmates when she is called to the front of the room to do a math problem. She uses coloured chalk to make the numbers fit into the synthesiasiatic form in which she sees them. He ...more
Stephanie Fitzgerald
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Middle- grade readers
A young girl, Mia, tries to hide from everyone the fact that sounds, letters, and numbers have color for her. When her condition is revealed due to a problem at school, Mia feels like all the kids think she’s some kind of freak.
A good book about a rare human condition that was interesting to learn about.
Aug 23, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: ra, children-s-books
I haven't read this, but the synopses actually put me off of it. As someone with synesthesia, I don't see how anyone could think they need to go to a doctor for it or have problems as a result of it. I've never thought it was anything special or scary, just mildly funny-- when I was growing up, my parents just always told other relatives with amusement, oh what a funny kid, she says "it tastes purple" or "it makes my stomach feel blue" or "the air smells orange." Then, when I grew up, I simply k ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone, especially pet-owners
Recommended to katarzyna by: my sister
This book is great! I recently recommended it to one of the middle school students I work with and it seemed to going over really well with her.

I'm only a few years shy of being twice Mia the narrator's age, but found her to be awesome. Definitely not perfect and kind of a pain in the butt to other characters at times (terrible school project partner, for one) but such a realistic, hilarious 13-year-old.

The character development was great in general, and I ended up liking pretty much everyone.
Kaethe Douglas
I had a hard time with this. First, the first-person narration felt slightly off to me. Nothing big, nothing really jarring, just ever-so-slightly-off in a way I can't put my finger on. Then there was the whole thing about the ages of Mia's parents. I'm guessing they were born in the 1960-1965 range. Why in hell would Mia's mother blame Mia's problem on the father's drug use in the 60s? I know that this is really trivial, but it's an emotionally fraught section of the story, very high impact, ev ...more
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, synesthesia
This book is very special to me. It is about a girl named Mia with a rare neurological condition called synesthesia. People with synesthesia "blend senses". Some common examples include colored hearing, tasting words, colored graphemes, personified graphemes, colored personalities, colored emotions, tasting colors, colored scents, hearing colors, colored units of time... even having unique visual maps of abstract concepts, such as time (for example, September might be three feet above your left ...more
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
You can also read mine, and MLE's reviews on our blog.

This would have been a four star book if it wasn’t for the degradation at the end into a swirling mass of teen angst.
Yeah, I am not so much into teen angst.

The author did a great job in getting you into Mia’s head, on how scared and frustrated she was with her synesthesia. It made you think, on how the torments of the other children in her third grade math class effected her. On how she kept her synesthesia a secret until she had to tell her
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because the protagonist, Mia Winchell, has synesthesia: a mingling of sensory perceptions. Letters and numbers have colors associated with them for Mia, and this causes her difficulty in math and Spanish. Her parents don't understand initially, and then think she has a disease or mental disorder, but eventually they find a specialist at the University of Chicago to diagnose her condition and to help, enabling Mia to understand that she is not a freak. The book also deals with g ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

This is a lovely little book about 13 year old Mia Winchell. At first glance she seems to be the most normal one in her quirky family. Her mother is an astronomy geek and her father is continuing adding additions to their eyesore of a home and also pilots his own helicopter. Mia is the middle child between her teenage sister Beth who comes back from summer camp interested in vegetarianism, yoga, and witchcraft and 11 year old brother Zack, an offbeat kid who firmly believes in all kinds
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
I find adults who read young adult novels to be kinda creepy, like the men I see playing Magic: The Gathering with teens at the comic book shop on Saturdays. Then again, I am buying comic books on a Saturday, so maybe I'm full of it.

But I, a fully grown human adult, did read A Mango-Shaped Space. My daughter recommended it to me after I gave her a copy of Animal Farm. I'll let you decide who got the better deal.

So this young girl named Mia has synesthesia, a condition that causes her to see soun
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*insert happy squeals and crying here*
Oh my god, I love this book.
The emotions are so realistic and the way Mia deals with things are relatable to anyone who has dealt with change.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book, yet I would hesitate to say that it is such a great book that anyone or everyone should rush to read it. My favorite parts of it were reading about the various manifestations of synesthesia, which I suppose I could have read about somewhere else; but there is something to be said for a character in a book who is treating acupuncture with all the traditional behaviors of a junkie -- sneaking out, lying, spending all her money on it -- all because it amps up her synest ...more
Alex Black
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book so many times and I absolutely adore it. It's a wonderful middle grade contemporary about a young girl with synesthesia. I will say right off the bat, I've heard this is not good representation of synesthesia. I don't know for sure since I have no experience with it, but that seems to be the general consensus. It doesn't negate enjoyment of the book for me, but it's definitely important to acknowledge that.

I almost gave this book four stars, but with how hard I cry for the fi
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads
★ 2016 AtY Reading Challenge ★: A book with a type of food/drink in the title.

*2.5 stars*

I feel sooooooo bad. I'm sad this book didn't resonate with me more.

Normally 2.5 stars is not a bad rating but to be honest is more of like a 2.25. Maybe even a 2?

The main theme of this book is synesthesia. The form Mia has is the one that causes her to associate colors to numbers, letters (and words, names etc.) and sounds.
There was some info-dumping happening during the book, especially when her "phenomen
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-books
'Growth can only truly be achieved through loss' (- A Mango Shaped-Space, by Wendy Mass) I love this quote because it demonstrates The pain and suffering that comes from loss but also the growth. In this book Mia discovers a huge loss that wounds her but also makes her 10x stronger. I feel like this was a great lesson for Wendy to put into her book. In a way i see it as 'when one door closes another door opens'. This is one of the many lessons I learned from this book. "Numbers don't have colors ...more
Alise (not Alice!!!!!)
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This. Book. Was. Amazing. But it made me cry at least 3 times. I still loved it though!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A fast read for an adult, I pretty much finished it in a sitting. I wouldn't give it to any sensitive kids under about the age the main character is...eleven or twelve, because it could be upsetting. The book deals with a lot of loss and sorrow. (Are there any upbeat middleschool books out there anymore?) Before the action even starts you have one person who has lost her mother to disease and the MC's beloved grandfather has died too. And that's before you meet her odd family: her strangely supe ...more
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
So far, I think this is a very interesting book, because I have never seen anyone memorize things by colors. I never even knew what synesthesia was until I started reading this book. At certain times while reading this book, I wish I could experience a day with synesthesia, sensing colors like Mia Winchell. In addition, I enjoy reading the part when Mia is taking the math test. She struggles with memorizing the formulas by actual letters, then she uses her method of using colors during the test ...more
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommendations
This is also a sad story and a touching story. It's about a girl who sees colors for numbers, letters, and sounds. She also has a cat that she loves the most, Mango. I will recommend this book to people who loves Wendy Mass books. ...more
Evan W
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. My heart has a Mango-shaped space now.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just amazing! I can't believe how much this book has changed my life. ...more
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Wendy Mass is the author of twenty-two novels for young people, including A Mango-Shaped Space, which was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award, Leap Day, the Twice Upon a Time fairy tale series, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall, the Willow Falls, Space Taxi and Candymakers series. Wendy wrote the storyline for an episode of the television show Monk, entitled ...more

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