Title: One Plus One Equals Blue [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: MJ Auch
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date: April 30, 2013
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
One Line: A very poignant and interesting story of two kids who look at the world a little differently than the rest of us.
About the Book: 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.
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 see more of in this book is Basil & Tenzie dealing with their feelings for their parents and the issues that arise from that, which surprised me, but it fit into the story of their friendship nicely.
Basil is a very relatable and sweet kid. It was cool seeing the world through his eyes and mind, getting a real sense at how people with Synesthesia handle problem solving and environmental sensations. It did bother me that it takes awhile for him to realize his gift, although that might be how it is in real life, since I don’t know how the usually diagnose his. Still, I felt like his grandmother and teachers could’ve caught this quicker than he would. To be honest, I didn’t really care for Tenzie at all. I did like that she changed Basil, made him open up more and lighten up, but that was about it. I think my feelings for her changed after Basil’s mom showed up. I understood her issues and why she did the things she did, but I think she took it too far and I felt the author barely touched the surface of what could’ve happened to her and Basil due to her actions. They’re young and naive, I get that, but her personality just rubbed me the wrong way. Also, Basil’s mother was the worst and I couldn’t have hated her more.
It’s a lot more serious and emotional than you’d originally think. The characters grapple with newfound friendship, problems with their parents, being different, and growing up. You definitely don’t get as much about Synesthesia as you’d think, but it’s there. Everything flowed pretty smoothly and I read it pretty quickly, so overall it’s a decent read.