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Desktop12Author Website |
Release Date: April, 30th 2013 | Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: contemporary, realism, family| Pages: 272

Earlier this Spring I was on a Twitter frenzy with @MacKidsBooks about some of their upcoming releases that I was super excited about. Today’s feature happens to be one of those books, and guys, seriously… I am a contemporary girl at heart (as in I would live in pretty much every contemporary book I come across if I could) and this MG contemp is just fabulous! I didn’t even know what to expect as I have never read this author before, and I am happy to say that I was so surprised with the story!

I was graciously provided a copy for review from Macmillan Kids. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.


Basil is one of those kids who knows he’s special. I mean, take at look at his name for one thing. But then there’s the whole situation where he associates numbers with colors, and it’s been happening since he was a kid. Until now his gift (or possible curse) has made him sort of a loner, and now that he’s in middle school for the first time after being homeschooled, things might just be getting worse.
That is until the new girl Tenzie takes a seat at his lunch desk, and he realizes that she too has his number/color freak-ism.
When Basil’s hot-shot-Hollywood-wannabe-Mom returns and sort of uproots his life,  he finds that Tenzie is the one friend who can help him get everything back to normal. Or as close to normal as they are used too.

5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!

  1. It isn’t very often that I find stories where the main character is a child with some sort of disability (Percy Jackson is about the only one to come to mind…) and though Basil’s synesthesia is never addressed as a disability… the idea that he struggles in school because of it is there. Before I picked up One + One I had never heard of synesthesia (where the stimulation of one sense leads to association with another sense: i.e. Basil sees the color white when he sees the #1) before. Because both Basil and Tenzie deal with this neurological condition, not only does it bring to light that this condition exists, but the story shows how kids struggle and deal with unseen issues every day. I applaud Auch (who also has synesthesia) for being bold and writing a story about Basil and Tenzie.
  2. Which brings me to characters–Auch does a fabulous job at NOT letting this condition define Basil and Tenzie. In fact, even though we know how they deal with numbers and colors, and even though their struggles are present, the heart of the story is about two kids who are just trying to fit in at school and understand their place in their families. Both Basil and Tenzie are strong characters, and absolutely realistic. I loved getting to know both kids and understanding their individual struggles. Tenzie often made me smile because she is outgoing, and sometimes ridiculous, and all around the type of girl I want to be friends with.
  3. The plot of the story took a twist near the end that I did not see coming. I often find myself being more surprised when it comes to comtemporary/realism because I know that there are realistic elements that really do happen integrated into the storylines, and the contemporary plots often help me remember how life is so unpredictable. When I read dystopians, or romance, or fantasy, I pick out patterns and structured plots. Realism just reminds me that life and it’s crazy turns can happen anytime, anywhere. I will admit that as I was surprised at the plot, I was also angry. Angry at the grownups, and I just wanted to shake all of them by the shoulders and say, “Don’t you see!?!?!” But, I’ll stop there to avoid spoilers!
  4. The ending… it’s just beautiful. In multiple ways of course but as I was turning the last few pages I had such a great visual of the story, as if I was there with Basil and Tenzie because Aush’s writing is descriptive and smooth. She really has a way of not only pulling me into the story visually, but emotionally. Be prepared to be attached to these characters and empathize with them.
  5. Coming back to the synesthesia. As I said, it’s apparent in the story how this condition affects Basil and Tenzie, and my heart is just so happy to have found a book where middle grade kids are struggling with fitting in because of something they cannot control. I cannot wait to have this book in my classroom or to recommend it to students because I think that there is really a little bit of Basil and Tenzie in all of us.

CN-007My magic grid is bursting in bright and colorful high marks!

Book Talk: Have you heard about One + One = Blue yet? If not, what do you think about the story? Do you know anyone who has synesthesia? How do you think your colors and numbers would match up?

Hopeful reading!