Parents' Guide to

One Plus One Equals Blue

By Joe Applegate, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Upbeat tale about kids coping with disadvantages.

One Plus One Equals Blue Poster Image

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This sweet but watery tale shows us the challenges of synesthesia, the neurological condition in which one sensation triggers an unrelated one. Not uncommon in artists (Vladimir Nabokov said that he and his mother could taste letters of the alphabet), synesthesia presents wonderful experiences to those who are ready to exploit them. In ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS BLUE, Basil and Tanzie come to terms with the condition in several passages that delight.

But the weight of the story falls on the relationship between Basil and his mother, who abandoned him to seek stardom in Hollywood then falls back into his life. Young readers will relate to Basil's longing for his mother's love, a feeling that's inseparable from his resentment of her selfishness. Ultimately, though, the storylines about synesthesia and poor parenting don't build on each other, and the result is less than compelling.

Book Details

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