Review: Marcelo in the Real World

Title: Marcelo in the Real World
Author: Francisco X. Stork
Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (2009)
Genre: young adult, mainstream fiction

In Their Words:
Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can—part of an autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo’s differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the summer…to join “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: it’s suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight it.

In Mine:
The strongest part of this story is Marcelo’s voice. You really get inside his head. You can understand how he thinks, how he sees the world. His voice is simple and straight-forward, and, at times, utterly painful.

Marcelo’s struggle to be “normal” is very easy to relate to. What is normal? Who decides?

This one of those books that is really hard to pin-down, because it just needs to be experienced. It deals with racism, classism, able-ism, and a host of other isms. Mainly, it deals with growing up. Something we all have to do eventually, whether we like it or not.

The design is this book is amazing. The cover is gorgeous, and the interior fits it perfectly, even using the image of a tree branch at the chapter heads. Lovely.

Final Rating:
5/5. Gorgeous design and writing, truly a must-read.

About Lucy

If you want to get fancy, Lucy lives in Portland, OR, and has a MA in Writing/Book Publishing, with a focus on Young Adult Literature, and a heaping disregard for literary snobbishness (she was an English Major–she’s seen and spouted her fair share). She works as a social media marketer, and has dabbled in developmental editing as a freelancer.
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2 Responses to Review: Marcelo in the Real World

  1. Misty says:

    Have you read The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime? If you liked Marcelo’s narration, you will adore that book, too.

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