a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Invisibly Breathing (2019)
Eileen Merriman

Felix Catalan, a teenager whose autistic tendencies make him unpopular in school, becomes romantically involved with another student whose stutter similarly makes him an outcast.

Like many other anti-social characters in fiction, Felix likes math and sees it as a safe space:

(quoted from Invisibly Breathing)

A prime number is divisible only by itself and by one. If I were a prime number, I’d want to be a five. Five is also a Catalan number, which is another sequence of numbers that can be used to solve certain counting problems. Being a Catalan number is perfect, because I like the idea of being part of a solution, but also because that’s my surname.

When I looked up ‘five’ on the net, I learned it was also the first safe prime, the third Sophie Germain prime, and the third Mersenne prime exponent. If I said that out loud at school most people would call me a nerd or try to trip me up or something. But I like the way numbers can have secret superpowers.

If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon, with sharp, perfect edges and rules that can’t be changed. A solid two-pronged base, with a pointy roof that reached for the sky. There’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.

I wish I were a five. I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen year-old guy in the universe.

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Works Similar to Invisibly Breathing
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Twenty-seven Uses for Imaginary Numbers by Buzz Mauro
  2. Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire
  3. The Infinite Pieces of Us by Rebekah Crane
  4. Proof Geometric Construction Can Solve All Love Affairs by Takahashi Manbou (lyricist) / Ane Manbou (illustrator)
  5. The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine
  6. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  7. Midnight Diner (Episode: Omelette Rice) by Joji Matsuoka (Director) / Marina Oshima (Screenplay)
  8. The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott
  9. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
  10. Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore
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GenreChildren's Literature, Romance,
MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Autism,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)