Seventeen-year-old Marcelo Sandoval’s life is about to change – forever. Up until now, he has spent his school days at Paterson, a school for children and teens that are differently- abled. At Paterson, his autism spectrum disorder does not set him apart from his peers; however, Marcelo’s father, a highly successful attorney, believes that Paterson does not prepare Marcelo for the “real world.” As a result, he makes a deal with Marcelo: the teen will work in the mail room at his father’s law firm for the summer instead of caring for the ponies at Paterson, which is what Marcelo really wants to do. If Marcelo is successful in the law firm at the end of the summer, he can choose to attend Paterson for his senior year of high school. Alternatively, Marcelo can work with the ponies for the summer and attend “regular” high school in the fall. Marcelo chooses the first option which throws him into a world filled with love, deceit, corruption, and more than he could ever imagine. Stork’s narrative is strong, fast-paced, and compelling and his character development is superb. All libraries serving teens will want to add this unique novel to their collection, particularly considering its positive coverage of a Latino teen with autism. Highly Recommended.
Marcelo in the Real World. Francisco X. Stork. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2009. 312 pp. $17.99 (Hardcover). ISBN 978-0-545-05474-4. Grades 9 and up. English.