Have you ever gotten to the end of a book and wished there was more? Or better yet, wished your writing could move people the way that the story moved you? Marcelo in the Real World is that kind of book.
It's no secret that I love fantasy, but I try to read outside of the genre as well. Marcelo isn't a super hero. He's a teenage boy with an unidentified cognitive disorder who is comfortable with his routines, his special-ed school, his job at the therapeutic riding stables. His father decides that for the summer Marcelo needs to move outside of his comfort zone and so Marcelo goes to work in the real world: at his father's law firm. But neither of them is prepared for what that means.
In the hands of another author, this story could end up being a sentimental tear-jerker. Author Francisco X. Stork doesn't take that route. Instead he gives us an unflinchingly honest look at what it means to be normal. While there are some obvious fish out of water situations, there are also some unexpected consequences that make this book a real page turner. As Marcelo tries to live up to his father's expectations, he starts to learn that choices aren't always black and white in the real world. The way he approaches these discoveries is what makes this story unique.
There is so much to love about this book. I love that in spite of his differences, I never felt sorry for Marcelo. I love that while the family is Mexican, they are completely American. I love that the story made me think about how what's right in one situation might not always be the right answer.
Marcelo in the Real World is Francisco X. Stork's third novel and it has garnered a lot of awards. His newest book, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, came out in March. If it's half as good as Marcelo, it'll be well worth the money.
I loved this book so much, I'm giving a copy to one of you dear readers. If you'd like to win this book -- hardcover I might add! -- follow this blog and leave me a comment before midnight Tuesday PST. I'll post the winner Wednesday morning.
If you're looking for other great book recommendations, check out this list of Recommended Reads from Elana Johnson. If you're making your way through all the awesome this morning, next on the list is Courtney Barr. She's reviewing Bree Despain's The Dark Divine.
Thanks to Elana for organizing this blogfest of books. I can see my TBR pile growing and growing...!