Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
17-year-old Marcelo is on the very high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, and his classes at Paterson have taught him many skills for living in the "real world." However, his high-powered lawyer father isn't satisfied with Marcelo's progress, and insists that the boy take a summer job at the law firm, rather than working with the ponies in the therapeutic riding center at Paterson.

At the law firm, Marcelo meets people from all ends of the "real world" spectrum, including musically-talented Jasmine in the mail room, snobbish personal secretaries, and the lecherous son of one of the lawyers. Marcelo also becomes personally involved in the law firm's biggest cases when he discovers the photograph of a victim in the trash, and decides that he must take action.

Marcelo's strong, distinctive voice tells the unusual story of a self-possessed teen who is eager to fit in without sacrificing his own values and interests. No cussing or kissing; however, there is much thought and discussion about sex and sexual attraction (the whole concept baffles Marcelo), but no action on-page.
Highly recommended for readers ages 14 to adult. Those who enjoyed the voice of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Haddon) will love reading about Marcelo's adventures in the real world.

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