Erin's Latest Pick

"Marcelo in the Real World" by Fransisco X. Stork

 

From Marcelo in the Real World:

              "'What's the mental music like?' Dr Malone asks. I stop tying my sneakers so that I can think about his question. But it is impossible to put into words what the internal music is like. (I prefer the word "internal" to the world "mental" when referring to the music. The fact that the IM, as I call it for short, is inside my mind does not necessarily mean that it is produced by my mind) What is the IM like? How many times has Dr. Malone asked me that question and how many times have I not been able to answer it?    'Sweet,'  I say.  'It is sweet."

Marcelo Sandoval is happy with his life.  He has his "internal music," a steady tune constantly playing in the back of his mind. He has a standing date for religious discussion with his favorite Rabbi. And he has a summer job working with the ponies at Paterson, the special school that he has always attended. 

At Paterson, different is normal. At Paterson, Marcelo's Aspergers-like neurological condition is no barrier to anything he wants to do.

There's only one problem.  Marcelo's high-powered lawyer father, Arturo, wants him to spend more time in the 'real world."  So he offers Marcelo a deal--if he works in the mailroom of Arturo's law firm for the summer, and learns the social nuances and rules of the real world, he can return to Paterson and his beloved ponies.  If not, he has to go to regular high school in the fall. 

At first, Marcelo despairs of learning the routines and rules, written and unwritten, of the firm.  He has to deal with angry secretaries, condescending lawyers, and Wendell, his father's partner's son, who acts friendly but always wants something from Marcelo.  Yet Jasmine, the tough but protective boss of the mailroom, helps him understand that "the real world" can also be a place of exhilaration and accomplishment. 

But when Marcelo uncovers a mystery that could damage the firm, his understanding of human motivation and behavior is put to the test. Can he determine the right course of action?  And what if doing the right thing means betraying his father?

If you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time or House Rules by Jodi Picoult, give Marcelo in the Real World a try.  You'll find it in the young adult section.