About the Book

Title: Marcelo in the Real World
Published: 2008
Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Cover Story: FULL OF WIN
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Talky Talk: Truthful
Bonus Factors: Diversity, Erin Brockovich
Relationship Status: I’ve Got This Book’s Back

Cover Story: FULL OF WIN

This cover is gorgeous and I absolutely love it. It’s the kind of cover that makes me pick up a book in order to learn more. For more information (and gushing), you can check out That Cover Girl’s post about the Marcelo cover. But for me, this accomplishes exactly what a good cover is meant to do. Make someone like me have a sort of irrational desire to read the book inside the pretty cover.

The Deal

It’s the summer before his senior year of high school and Marcelo is supposed to spend it taking care of the ponies at Paterson, the special school he has been attending for years. But Marcelo’s father has other plans. He wants Marcelo to work at his law firm for the summer and attend a regular high school in the fall. Marcelo has what is similar to a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome and his father is convinced that Paterson is sheltering Marcelo from growing outside of his comfort zone and experiencing what Marcelo’s father refers to as The Real World. So Marcelo makes a deal. If he can survive the summer working in the law firm’s mail room and pass his father’s test, he gets to spend the next year back at Paterson. If not, it’s off to regular public school for Marcelo. But The Real World is proving to be quite a challenge as a unique friendship begins to develop between Marcelo and his coworker Jasmine. And why can’t Marcelo stop thinking about the injured girl in a picture he found in the law firm’s case file?

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

I would absolutely love to be BFFs with Marcelo. Sure, there would be some frustrations, like explaning to him the meaning of every single euphemism you or others use. Marcelo can be a bit naive, but not in an annoying way. He’s naive in the way that makes you wonder how the hell you turned out so bitter and question why the world can’t be as simple or straightforward as someone like Marcelo sees it. Marcelo is just a great person and anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend. Many of the people Marcelo encounters at the law firm treat him like crap or act as though he’s stupid. So being Marcelo’s friend would probably lead me to an aggravated assault charge or two, but Marcelo is constantly running into people who need to get BITCH SLAPPED.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

There is definitely some tension between Marcelo and Jasmine, but it’s very different from the usual teenage tension. Marcelo has never really been sexually attracted to any girls and has a hard time understanding why one person would be considered beautiful and another not. So all that said, the attraction Marcelo feels is that of wanting to spend more time with someone and enjoying their company. But even with the confusion to what Marcelo and Jasmine could or might be, I still think this is relationship more about friendship than romance.

Talky Talk: Truthful

This story is told from Marcelo’s perspective, which is both straightforward and funny at times. Plus, Marcelo is very observant as to why people do and say certain things:

I wait for him to finish the sentence. I know that when people stop in the middle of what they’re saying, it means that they suddenly realize they shouldn’t say what they were planning on saying in the first place. What happens is that person has stated talking before realizing the impact the words will have on the listener. That’s why I think many more thoughts than I actually express and why sometimes I come across as slow. I think too much about what I’m hearing and what I’m going to say, and that’s a problem when trying to carry on a conversation.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Faces of all different races, ethnicities and genders.

Marcelo and his family are of Hispanic decent, though it isn’t really explicitly mentioned at first. Race plays a bit of a role in this novel, but in a very interesting and unstated way.

PLUS, Marcelo And The Real World won the 2010 Schneider Family Book Teen Award, with honors books that “embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

Bonus Factor: Erin Brockovich

Statue of blindfolded Lady Justice holding a scale and sword

This novel has a side-plot that focuses on a a big corporate lawsuit. Will justice prevail??

Relationship Status: I’ve Got This Book’s Back

While this book doesn’t illicit any romantic feelings from me, we’ve definitely built up a close friendship. I’m proud to be this books friend and will definitely have its back if anyone tries to mess. And while this book initially attracted me with its pretty exterior, I was happy to find out I cared about who the book was on the inside as well.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Marcelo in the Real World is available now.

Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.