|One plus one equals blue|
Author: Auch, Mary Jane
Branded the class loser, twelve-year-old Basil reluctantly becomes friends with a bossy new girl who, like Basil, has synesthesia and comes to Basil's aid when his estranged mother returns and turns his life upside down.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 159266
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/13)
School Library Journal (04/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (05/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2013 Twelve-year-old Basil is a loner, probably because of his “freakism” of mentally associating numbers with different colors. Then capital-Q quirky Tenzie (“her personality was like the brass section of a band”) arrives at school and befriends him—she won’t take no for an answer. Soon Tenzie reveals that she, too, sees colors in her mind. It’s a rather stiff start for the novel—it seems unlikely that neither kid would have searched the Internet to learn about synesthesia before meeting each other, and there’s a didactic quality to description of the condition. Thankfully, a plot emerges with the arrival of Basil’s mother, Carly, who disappeared seven years ago to try to make it in Hollywood. Carly is a rich character: charismatic, full of good intent, and quick to excite, but lacking the ability to follow anything through. It’s easy to see the attraction she holds for both kids—as well as the disappointment that surely is coming. Though slow to start, this sensitive novel has a fittingly tough and bittersweet finish. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2013 Gr 5–8—Basil has just started seventh grade after being homeschooled by his hippie-era grandmother. At first he thinks he wants to make friends with other students, but he soon decides that he is just too freaky and different to ever have any friends. In October, when Tenzie shows up at school, everything changes. She is pushy and determined to befriend Basil, whether he likes it or not. When he finds out that Tenzie sees numbers as colors, too, he is prompted to do some research. He discovers that they both have the same neurological condition, only Tenzie's synesthesia helps her with math, whereas Basil's makes him hopelessly confused. Life gets topsy-turvy when Basil's mother, who abandoned him seven years earlier, shows up in town. Basil is wary of Carly, but Tenzie is enamored-the woman is beautiful, glamorous, and claims to be an actress. When she abruptly leaves town once again, Tenzie convinces Basil to run away with her and find Carly. The kids go on a harrowing journey only to discover that everything they need is back home. Synesthesia is an important bond between Basil and Tenzie, and readers are led to believe that the condition is going to be more central to the plot, but this is primarily an engaging story of a boy coming to terms with the shortcomings of his mother. It's a nice companion to Wendy Mass's A Mango-Shaped Space (Little, Brown, 2003), which also incorporates synesthesia.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2013 “I’m the biggest loser in the seventh-grade class,” says Basil Feeney, who’s a low-key kid largely resigned to his status and comforted by his stable home life with his grandmother, who’s cared for him ever since his mother, Carly, left to become an actress when he was five. A smart, kooky new girl, Tenzie, shakes up his world and draws him into a friendship; they bond further upon the realization that they both have synesthesia, a sensory eccentricity that makes them see numbers as colors. When Basil’s flighty mother returns and signs on to direct the school play, Basil is horrified but Tenzie is starstruck; while Carly predictably takes off again, Tenzie insists that she and Basil track her down. Basil’s a sympathetic guy, largely at ease with himself and his eccentricities, and his narration is plainspoken and accessible. It’s Tenzie who really steals the show here, and the way she turns Basil’s drama into her own is both credibly annoying and a touching indication of the depth of her need. Unfortunately, her behavior and lack of impulse control are so extreme that the book seems dismissive of the scale of her problems; additionally, the synesthesia theme, though interesting, involves some contrivance and sometimes disappears from the story. Nonetheless, it’s a readable account of a kid who learns that it’s okay to disturb the universe a little but also to appreciate what he has. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.