By the time Mia gets to English class, she's flooded with questions from everyone about her whole seeing-sounds thing. Kids want to know if it hurts, whether she can read people's minds, and what color their own names are.
At first it's weird that everyone knows her secret, but pretty soon Mia begins to like the attention. It's cool to have so many people talk to you.
During lunch, a girl Mia's never met before comes up to her and warns her to keep her mouth shut—or else. People will want to put her in a special class if they know what she has.
This freaks Mia out. She zips it for the rest of the day, even when she flunks the next math quiz and the teacher says they should talk about her grade.
When she gets home from school, Mia is bombarded with questions from Zack. How come he and Beth don't have this? Why has Mia never said anything before? Is she adopted?
She tells Zack everything about her condition, partly just to keep him from asking any more questions.
When she's done filling him in on the deets, Mia breathes a sigh of relief. Then her dad walks up and informs her they'll go to the University of Chicago on Friday to see the neurologist.
Dr. Weiss is nothing like Mia expected. He's warm, charming, and really cute (even though she won't admit it to anyone). He tells her to call him "Jerry" before they get started. Well hey there, Jerry.
Instead of more tests, Jerry starts by talking to Mia and her parents. He explains that what she has is called synesthesia.
Huh? Mia and her folks have never heard of it, but it's less scary than it sounds. Basically, it's a rare twist in your brain where the wires get crossed in your senses. So instead of only using one sense (hearing, say) to perceive something (noises), synesthetes use two and sometimes even three.
Jerry explains that there are people who can hear food or see a personality for each number. Mia's relieved to learn there are other people like her—she's normal. Phew.
Her parents have a bunch of questions, particularly about how Jerry can make Mia's synesthesia go away since she's flunking math and can't keep doing poorly on her schoolwork. This makes Mia feel uncomfortable. Hmm… maybe she doesn't want to get rid of her synesthesia after all.
For Jerry, it's more about learning to access and use the colors than it is about turning them off entirely. He agrees to help her by getting her in touch with a math tutor and giving her a website where other people with synesthesia write their stories and connect with each other.
For the very first time, Mia doesn't feel weird. She's excited to go online and meet other people just like her.