Monday, April 18, 2011

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo Sandoval has a form of high functioning autism. He attends a special school and works at the horse stable where kids with special needs receive therapy. Marcelo also hears music that only he can hear. But at the age of seventeen, Marcelo’s father thinks it is time for him to experience “the real world.” Instead of working at the stables for the summer, Marcelo will be working in the mailroom at his father’s law firm. If he can adapt and follow the rules, then Marcelo can choose where he will attend high school his senior year; Paterson or a real high school.

Jasmine, a few years older than Marcelo, is his supervisor is the mailroom. He soon realizes that Jasmine is not thrilled to have Marcelo working for her but before long; trust and friendship develop between them. After a few weeks, Wendell, the son of Marcelo’s father’s law partner, makes him an offer. If Marcelo helps Wendell make the moves on Jasmine, then Wendell will tell Marcelo’s father that he is capable of making it in the real world. Marcelo never agrees because he realizes that Wendell wishes to harm Jasmine. He soon finds himself as Wendell’s helper on a big lawsuit.

In working on the lawsuit files, Marcelo finds a photo of a girl his age whose face has been scarred. He becomes drawn to her and soon embarks on a journey to discover her story. Part self-discovery, part coming of age and part legal drama, the story of Marcelo Sandoval’s seventeenth summer will have readers cheering for the underdog.

Visit Francisco X. Stork's website.

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