Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exceptional Teen Novel

Marcelo in the Real World
by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo is a teen who hears music that no one else can, sleeps in a tree house, has an obsession with religion, and prefers things to have an order to them. One might say he exhibits behaviors similar to individuals with Asberger's syndrome, although he's never been officially diagnosed. He attends a "special" school called the Paterson school where he takes care of the ponies in the therapeutic riding stables. His father, a high-powered lawyer, insists that he work in the mail room of his law firm for the summer. If Marcelo is able to succeed, he will be given the choice of staying in his special school for his senior year, or being mainstreamed into the "normal" high school.

While he is there, he happens across evidence which indicates the corruption in his father's practice. Once confronted with this, Marcelo must face his reservations about the real world and decide how to handle an ethical dilemma.

This is a powerful and moving novel that teens and adults will enjoy, even more than Mark Haddon's similar title The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The writing is beautiful. Readers of all personalities will be moved by Marcelo's struggle to relate to "normal".

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