Title: One + One = Blue
Author: M.J. Auch
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: April 20, 2013
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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 first, Basil is somewhat annoyed with Tenzie’s pushiness, but after Basil’s estranged mother returns, his life is turned upside down . . . and Tenzie may be the only person to help him put it back together again.
Once again, MJ Auch has written a thoughtful coming-of-age novel that explores friendship, family, and fitting in.
One + One = Blue is a quick middle grade read that focuses on Basil, a young loner with synesthesia. Between the arrival of the crazy new girl Tenzie and the return of his even more crazy estranged mother, Basil's world is about to be turned upside down!
I really enjoyed the aspects of the book that focused on synesthesia. I was introduced to in my intro psychology class last year. The class I took was science-focused, so I learned a bit of brain science and when my prof covered synesthesia, it was one of my favourite subjects. There's something about hearing colours or tasting sounds that is just so fascinating! However, synesthesia is more of just a background in this book, which instead focuses on family drama.
It seems that my character frustrations from last week have carried over into this week as well. I really wanted to like these characters! I did! But the only one I ended up enjoying was Grams. She was awesome! I love how she was so creative and also how connected she was to the earth and to her food. She had chickens in her backyard, which is something I want when I finally move to my dream acreage. Unfortunately, she was the only one I really enjoyed. While Basil did improve towards the end, he was so grumpy and a bit whiny in the beginning. He would make mean little comments whenever things weren't going his way and I just wanted him to be nicer to everyone, especially Tenzie. Although his major redeeming quality for me was his thoughtfulness when it came to Grams. Tenzie also got on my nerves a bit. She was so pushy and reckless. But the character that completely drove me up the wall was Basil's mother, Carly. What is wrong with this woman?!?! Do people like this actually exist? I hope not, but I'm sure they do. If you read this one, you'll see what I mean.
Overall, One + One = Blue gives us a glimpse into synesthesia, along with a large dose of family drama. The characters weren't spot on for me, but it's worth a read if you have any interest in synesthesia or psychology in general. And I'm confident the synesthesia parts are legit, since the author blurb states that MJ Auch has synethesia herself. How cool!
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