Marcelo in the Real World
Written by Francisco X. Stork
Published by Scholastic Books, 2009
Age Level: Ages 14 and up
Description (From GoodReads):
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear–part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify–and he’s always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm’s mailroom in order to experience “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm.
He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file — a picture of a girl with half a face — that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.
Reminiscent of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in the intensity and purity of its voice, this extraordinary novel is a love story, a legal drama, and a celebration of the music each of us hears inside.
Marcelo has become one of my favorite protagonists. He is very different from many of the main characters in other books we’ve read here at Vamos a Leer. Marcelo is a seventeen year old on the autism spectrum. He says of himself, “. . .the closest description of my condition is Asperger’s syndrome. . .” (p. 55). How often are we given a book that provides our students any insight into what it might be like to experience the world with autism or Asperger’s syndrome? This alone makes it a significant book. Continue reading →
Join us November 4th at Bookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book. We are reading Marcelo in the Real World (Ages 12 and up) by Francisco X. Stork.
Here’s a sneak peek into the book: (from Goodreads)
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear–part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify–and he’s always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm’s mailroom in order to experience “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. Continue reading →
We’re giving away a copy of Marcelo in the Real World written by Francisco X. Stork–our featured novel for November’s book group meeting!! Check out the following review from Horn Book:
“Seventeen-year-old Marcelo Sandoval marches to the beat of a different drummer – literally. He perceives internal music in his head; he is obsessed with religion; he has difficulty interacting with others – behaviors that place him at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. He is happy at Paterson, the special-education school he’s attended since first grade, and life is comfortable. Then his father proposes an unwelcome deal: if Marcelo proves successful in “the real world” by working in the mailroom at his law firm over the summer he will be allowed to choose between returning to his beloved Paterson or attending – as his father prefers – a regular high school. But as Marcelo begins his summer job, he finds his moral compass tested just as much as his coping and social skills. His loyalty is divided on multiple levels: between his father and the law firm, between a plaintiff and the law firm, between the privileged son of his father’s law partner who befriends him with dubious motives and the beautiful co-worker who gradually comes to care deeply for him. While the voice is reminiscent of the narrator of Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – both have an appealing blend of naivete and wisdom – Marcelo has the superior character development. His inspiring, brave journey into the real world will likely engender a fierce protective instinct in readers, ratcheting up the tension as the plot winds to its sweet, satisfying denouement. It is the rare novel that reaffirms a belief in goodness;rarer still is one that does so this emphatically.” j.h. Starred – Horn Book March/April, 2009 Continue reading →