Study Guide

A Mango-Shaped Space Chapter 4

By Wendy Mass

Chapter 4

  • Two weeks into school, Mia's already failed two math tests and super frustrated with trying to figure out math with colors swirling around in her head.
  • Zack works on his math homework cheerfully next to Mia while she reads.
  • Beth is off somewhere in the woods, which is her newest hobby. It's all the more quizzical since she's never been caught in dead in the woods a day in her life.
  • Mia decides to break the news to her parents about the colors. She wants to get the truth out, sure, but she also needs them to sign a letter from her math teacher saying she's failing, and she wants to explain why.
  • She starts off by referencing that day with the math problem in third grade, which they only very vaguely remember.
  • At first Mia's parents think this is all an elaborate scheme to get out of failing math, but pretty quickly, they realize she's serious (though not after interrogating her about the colors of specific items).
  • Mia's parents aren't sure what to do. They've never heard of someone seeing sounds or colors matching with specific numbers before, so they decide to take her to the doctor to get her checked out.
  • The next day, Mia's mom picks her up in the middle of the school day for her appointment.
  • It turns out Beth has to head to the doc, too, since she has poison ivy from all her herb picking. Mia takes every opportunity to get under her skin about it.
  • Beth goes in first and comes out covered in pink ointment.
  • When it's her turn, Mia explains the colors to the doc, who is clearly stumped. He wants to send her off to a psychotherapist who might be able to help.
  • Their mom drops them back at school but not before telling Mia that she'll have to go to summer school if her math grade doesn't improve. Wee.
  • Luckily it's gym class when Mia returns—at least she can still run fast.
  • On the track, Roger trips and sprains his ankle. She jokes around with him that there are easier ways of getting out of gym class; he laughs.
  • They're in the same group for a history project, so they exchange phone numbers so they can talk about it (though we get the feeling Roger wants to talk to Mia more in general).
  • On the bus ride home, Mia promises to tell Jenna everything about the doctor on the weekend. No one knows her secret yet, and Mia's not convinced she wants to share it with anyone either.
  • Saturday rolls around, and Jenna asks about the doc again. Mia explains everything—from the color of Jenna's name (wet grass, if you were wondering) to the fact that she has to visit a therapist to figure out what's going on—and Jenna starts crying.
  • She's really hurt that Mia didn't tell her sooner, and that she's kept this big secret the whole time. Jenna storms off, and now Mia's the one who's hurt.