Thursday, April 25, 2013

ARC Review: One + One = Blue by MJ Auch

One + One = Blue
Author: MJ Auch
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 30, 2013)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: Basil tells his story in ONE + ONE = BLUE. He has just started middle school after years of being homeschooled. He has settled in at the bottom of the social latter partially because he hasn't ever had any contact with other kids and partially because he has synesthesia which has him associating numbers with colors. 

When new kid Tenzie pushes her way into friendship with him, his life expands. At first he is rude and hurtful to her and completely lacking in empathy. But her constant presence begins to grow on him. the friendship grows when he learns that she has synesthesia too.

Neither kid has a stellar home life. Tenzie's parents are neglectful. She says she comes in after her mother's canary in the family pecking order. Basil has a great relationship with his Gram who has raised him since his mother abandoned him for life in Hollywood when he was five. Now his mother is coming home and wants to be his mother. Carly and Tenzi form a close relationship because Tenzie want to be an actress. Things seem to be going along well; Carly gets the job directing the school play, but then things fall apart. It has been Carly's pattern to give up and move on when things get tough.

When Carly leaves, Tenzie convinces Basil to run away from home with her to find Carly. She is sure that Carly wants them both and that they will all soon be living the good life in Hollywood. Basil is much more reluctant because he has more common sense and a clearer view of Carly.

This story was a good exploration of friendship and a good story about what a real family is. Middle grade readers will enjoy getting to know both Basil and Tenzie.

Favorite Quote:
The ride gave me some time to think about what we were doing. Tenzie had just shown me that she had no common sense whatsoever, and now I was following her on a wild goose chase to catch the mother who had deliberately left me behind twice. Even if we found Carly, would she be happy to see us?
I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.

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