Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. (Grades 9+)
17-year old Marcelo has his future planned out. He'll work training horses this summer at his school, a special school for kids with disabilities. In the fall, he'll return to Paterson for his senior year and then go to college to study nursing. But Marcelo's dad has other plans for him. Arturo would like Marcelo to join "the real world" by working at his law firm for the summer and attending a typical high school in the fall. They make a deal. If Marcelo gets through the summer working at the law firm, adapting to new situations and following the rules of the real world, then Marcelo can choose what school he attends in the fall. But the real world is more complicated, beautiful, and frightening than Marcelo could ever have imagined.
WHY did I wait so long to pick up this book??? Seriously, I have owned it for months and somehow I always put something else in front of it. *kicks self* I knew I would love it and I did love it.
It took me a little while to warm up to Marcelo. His voice is very precise, very literal. I was a little confused in the beginning because he calls his parents by their first names. But after a couple of chapters, I got used to Marcelo's unique way of talking and I just loved everything. Working at the law firm, Marcelo gets involved in a conundrum that would be hard for anyone (neuro-typical or not) to sort out. He really has a trial by fire when he's asked to join the real world. So besides the fact that it's a beautifully-written novel about a kid on the autism spectrum, it's also just a beautifully-written coming-of-age story about a teenager who's figuring out what it means to love, to consider consequences, and to do the right thing.
This would be a great crossover book for your adult friends who don't know (yet) that they like YA books.
And now, I'm back to read, read, reading...
Total time spent reading/blogging: about 6.5 hours
Books finished: 2
Pages read: 575
I think next up is going to be If I Stay and then maybe something middle grade like Strawberry Hill or Confetti Girl.