Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork 978-0-545-05474-4 pub 2009 $17.99
Marcelo has Asperger’s Syndrome and has gone to a special school all his life. About to enter his senior year and looking forward to a job in the school’s stables looking after the ponies, his father gets him a job at his law firm instead. His father has never quite been comfortable with the idea that his son is different and coerces Marcelo into taking the job after his rival at the law firm brings his son in for the summer, to prove that he is normal. Marcelo is extremely resentful but has no choice but to obey. He ends up in the mailroom working with Jasmine who knows all the politics of the place and refuses to follow the conventions. She does not want Marcelo there, but leaves him alone. Theri friendship slowly forms when Marcelo accidentally becomes involved in one of the law firm’s cases, and she agrees to help him. But Marcelo is on the wrong side of the case, and he soon has choices to make between right and wrong, his father and his new friend. In the meantime he finds his father may be right about becoming independent, and he experiences romance for the first time.
Marcelo is a wonderful character and you will enjoy getting to know him. This book is reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and is highly recommended for middle school and high school.
Review by Niki Roohi, Goldenview MS Librarian