Sunday, February 12, 2012

YA book blog: Marcelo in the Real World

Cover art: Marcelo in the Real World
Cover art: Marcelo in the Real World

In Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009), 17-year-old Marcelo’s father challenges him to work in his law firm’s mail room for the summer. During his time at the legal firm, Marcelo becomes embroiled in a corporate malfeasance case for which the firm represents the defendant.

Marcelo must come to terms with finding himself and his father on opposite sides of a moral issue. Marcelo also has to navigate complex social and personal relationships with the people he meets at the firm.

This novel’s protagonist and I share the circumstance in common of being on the autism spectrum. The author came to my attention when I read about a panel discussion in which the author took part during the ALA annual convention: library services to patrons with autism.

I think this book is valuable for the resource it provides to people on the autism spectrum. I relate to the protagonists of books like Marcelo in the Real World and Mindblind by Jennifer Roy. They face circumstances in a society that I find similarly perplexing.

At the same time, I believe the issues of morality and interpersonal relationship that Marcelo encounters at the firm will resonate with a broader readership. A teen will not have to be on the autism spectrum to relate to the issues in this book.

Originally submitted to a class discussion board for Cuesta College LIBT 118: Connecting Adolescents with Literature and Libraries

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