Friday, January 27, 2012

Booktalk: Marcelo in the Real World (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2011-2012)

If you were to see Marcelo just walking down the street, you wouldn’t think there was anything different or special about him. He’s tall, healthy, dresses normally, and has a summer job working for his dad’s law firm. Normal, right? Well, yes, he is normal. However, he also can hear musically internally in his head (no ipod required), can memorize long passages of scriptures from different traditions, can bond with animals (especially ponies), and has a very hard time figuring out human beings and their motives. Marcelo really wanted to spend his summer working with animals – and he would have – except that his dad, a big shot lawyer, wants Marcelo to experience what life in the “real world” is like. Uh oh, the real world. We know what that’s like, right?

Marcelo has Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum, and he can function pretty well in society, but he’s not as good at reading people. For example, there’s a guy at work, Wendell, who’s a real jerk. Wendell has an agenda, and Marcelo is about to fall victim to it. There’s also a girl at work, Jasmine, who can be pretty tough and blunt but seems to understand and like Marcelo. Wendell has the hots for Jasmine, by the way. Yeah. And perhaps Marcelo does, too, but he’s at a real disadvantage here. You know how it’s hard for Marcelo to figure people out? That means that they can take advantage him: manipulate him, use him, con him. And it’s unfair, because he’s such a cool person, and innocent, too. Will Marcelo be able to figure out people in the “real world” before he gets burned? Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. 2009: Scholastic. 312 p. Booktalk to high school. Virginia Readers’ Choice: 2011-2012.

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