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Marcelo in the Real World
     

Marcelo in the Real World

4.0 54
by Francisco X. Stork, Lincoln Hoppe (Read by)
 

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Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can hear–part of an autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo’s differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the summer. . . to join “the real world.”

There Marcelo meets

Overview

Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can hear–part of an autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo’s differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the summer. . . to join “the real world.”

There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file–a picture of a girl with half a face–that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.

Reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in the intensity and purity of its voice, this extraordinary audiobook is a love story, a legal drama, and a celebration of the music each of us hears inside.

Editorial Reviews

Robert Lipsyte
…Marcelo Sandoval is the bravest, most original hero I've met in years…The reader's conflict—rooting for Marcelo to succeed yet unsure what success actually means for him—energizes Marcelo in the Real World, a brisk, brilliant, unsentimental novel…Marcelo is smart, thoughtful, decent, good-looking without knowing it. A great kid, just a little different. Must he be challenged to be fulfilled, emotionally endangered to match someone's idea of fitting in? The psychological and moral concerns of the novel are so marbled into the story that they never overwhelm it, making Marcelo in the Real World not only an important new young adult novel but a pleasure to read.
—The New York Times
Mary Quattlebaum
Part coming-of-age story, part mystery and wholly compelling, this novel takes readers into the mind of a young man who can "perceive more of reality than others." Marcelo proves a wise and unwittingly humorous companion as he navigates the complex relationships, workaday concerns and ethical dilemmas of the real world.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Artfully crafted characters form the heart of Stork's (The Way of the Jaguar) judicious novel. Marcelo Sandoval, a 17-year-old with an Asperger's-like condition, has arranged a job caring for ponies at his special school's therapeutic-riding stables. But he is forced to exit his comfort zone when his high-powered father steers Marcelo to work in his law firm's mailroom (in return, Marcelo can decide whether to stay in special ed, as he prefers, or be mainstreamed for his senior year). Narrating with characteristically flat inflections and frequently forgetting to use the first person, Marcelo manifests his anomalies: he harbors an obsession with religion (he regularly meets with a plainspoken female rabbi, though he's not Jewish); hears "internal" music; and sleeps in a tree house. Readers enter his private world as he navigates the unfamiliar realm of menial tasks and office politics with the ingenuity of a child, his voice never straying from authenticity even as the summer strips away some of his differences. Stork introduces ethical dilemmas, the possibility of love, and other "real world" conflicts, all the while preserving the integrity of his characterizations and intensifying the novel's psychological and emotional stakes. Not to be missed. Ages 14-up. (Mar.)

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VOYA - Elsworth Rockefeller
Marcelo—a teen who exhibits Asperger-like behaviors, including hearing a type of music no one else can—is offered an ultimatum by his father: unless Marcelo can successfully complete a summer job as a mail room clerk in his father's law firm, he have to attend a "regular" high school for his senior year instead of the specialized school he has attended for his entire academic career. It would mean giving up his cherished position as a stable boy working with Haflinger ponies and facing his reservations about the "real world." In the mailroom, Marcelo becomes involved in a mystery, which requires him to push his skills to a new level and make decisions about his beliefs, his family, and his future. Marcelo is a believable character in a situation with which teens can empathize. The narrative is consistent and caringly crafted, offering a compelling examination of Marcelo's challenges and successes. Because many of the character interactions center on feelings and Marcelo's social growth, it would have been easy for the conversations to become didactic or over-the-top, but the author is able to keep the text focused and carry the story well. The nicely balanced mystery elements add texture to the plot and will keep readers engaged, and well-built secondary characters help the story feel complete. This beautifully written, insightful book is sure to resonate with many readers facing their own version of the real world, and belongs in all collections serving young adults and those who work with them. Reviewer: Elsworth Rockefeller
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
What an amazing book! Once I read the first page, I absolutely could not put it down. Marcelo hears internal music that no one else can hear. He has a condition similar to Asperger's Syndrome and sees a doctor who keeps asking him what the internal music sounds like, but he just can't find the best word to describe it. Marcelo is happy and successful while working with ponies at the riding stables that are part of the special school he attends. Then. his father tells Marcelo that he wants him to work in the mailroom of his law firm so that he can interact with the "real" world. He also explains that if Marcelo does this, he can choose if he wants to return to the special school or be mainstreamed into a regular education classroom for his senior year. It's a big decision, but he does work in the mailroom. There, he meets Jasmine and Wendall. Situations occur that involve feelings and situations Marcelo has never been exposed to (e.g., desire, anger, jealousy, doing the wrong thing to get ahead instead of doing the right thing just because it is right). In addition, he learns something about his father that was he was never supposed to know and sees a picture of a girl with half a face that changes everything for him and the law firm. I felt that we should all be more like Marcelo when making decision and just do the right thing. The wisdom the author put in this story far exceeds anything I have read in a long time. This book is warm, touching, intelligent, and excellently written. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Like Christopher Boone, the protagonist in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Doubleday, 2003), Marcelo Sandoval is a high-functioning, extremely self-aware teenager with Asperger's syndrome. He has an empathetic mother and a father, Arturo, who appears to be less empathetic as he pushes Marcelo to live in the "real world." The form the real world takes is a summer job in the mailroom at Arturo's law office. The teen is forced to think on his feet, multitask, and deal with duplicitous people who try to take advantage of him. Over the course of a summer, Marcelo learns that he can function in society; he is especially surprised to find that he can learn to read people's expressions, even to the point of knowing whom he can and cannot trust. Writing in a first-person narrative, Stork does an amazing job of entering Marcelo's consciousness and presenting him as a dynamic, sympathetic, and wholly believable character. At a little over 300 pages, the story drags at some points, bogging down in the middle. However, the dilemmas that Marcelo faces are told in a compelling fashion, which helps to keep readers engaged.-Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD

Kirkus Reviews
In what turns out to be considerably more than just another tale told by an intelligent narrator with a spectrum disorder, 17-year-old Marcelo Sandoval gets a life-changing taste of the "real world" when he's forced to take a summer job in his father's law firm. Comfortable with his limitations but still anxious, Marcelo strikes gold immediately when Jasmine, his supervisor in the Mail Room, turns out to be an uncommonly perceptive young woman-unlike Wendell, the sex-obsessed son of his father's slimeball legal partner. Vicious office intrigues, Marcelo's long-standing fascination with religious thought and his discovery of a damning piece of suppressed evidence in a case involving his father's biggest corporate client all lead to a series of short but deep heart-to-heart conversations about ethics, God's will and other big questions. In the end Marcelo keeps his feet amid strong emotional currents, makes the hard choices and even maps out a personal future that wasn't at all clear earlier on. Making good on the promise of his Way of the Jaguar (2000), Stork delivers a powerful tale populated by appealing (and decidedly unappealing) characters and rich in emotional nuance. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

“Stork introduces ethical dilemmas, the possibility of love, and other “real world” conflicts, all the while preserving the integrity of his characterizations and intensifying the novel's psychological and emotional stakes. Not to be missed.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

“…Stork delivers a powerful tale populated by appealing (and decidedly unappealing) characters and rich in emotional nuance.” -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Writing in a first-person narrative, Stork does an amazing job of entering Marcelo's consciousness and presenting him as a dynamic, sympathetic, and wholly believable character." -- School Library Journal, starred review

“It is the rare novel that reaffirms a belief in goodness; rarer still is one that does so this emphatically.” -- Horn Book, starred review

“Shot with spirtualism, laced with love, and fraught with conundrums, this book, like Marcelo himself, surprises.” -- Booklist, starred review

“[I]n the skillful hands of Francisco X. Stork, 17-year-old Marcelo Sandoval is the bravest, most original hero I've met in years…[A] brisk, brilliant, unsentimental novel…” -- New York Times

“Part coming-of-age story, part mystery and wholly compelling…” -- Washington Post

“While several recent books have used the conceit of an autistic protagonist, this thoughtful novel full of complicated characters is unique.” -- Chicago Sun-Times

“Stork has written a beautiful study of the loss of innocence, as the questions Marcelo confronts are ones everyone has to grapple with in some form or other…” -- Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739379912
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/01/2009
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Francisco X. Stork is the author of Marcelo in the Real World, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens and the Once Upon a World Award; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, which was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Teens list and won the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award; Irises; and The Memory of Light, which received four starred reviews. He lives near Boston with his wife. You can find him on the web at www.franciscostork.com and @StorkFrancisco.

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Marcelo in the Real World 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
I don't even know how to write this review. This book blew me away in so many different ways. Marcelo is smart - super smart - actually, he just doesn't come off that way since it takes him ten times as long as anyone else to process anything - verbal or nonverbal communication. He is happy to spend his summer working with the ponies at his school for disabled children until his father, who has never believed there is anything wrong with Marcelo, insists he take a job in the mail room at his law firm in order to become part of the 'real world'. Marcelo is convinced that he will be better off caring for his ponies but agrees to the arrangement. But Marcelo doesn't count on the unlikely friendship that forms between himself and his co-worker Jasmine and the unsettling interest the son of his father's partner, Wendell, shows in him either. Least of all, Marcelo doesn't expect or understand his reaction to the startling picture he finds of a young girl and his desire to help her. I was so often reminded of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" since both boys like their order and routines, but Marcelo is able to interact with others on a much higher level and brought out more genuine responses than Christopher ever could. The biggest revelation to me was Marcelo's growth, just as his mother predicts, which pervades everything that happens throughout the book. As deep and serious as many of the topics in this book were, I still found it to be hilarious. Marcelo's tendency to literally define every expression to come his way competely endearing and just dang funny. Particularly when he became stumped by some slang term thrown around at the office. And since this book was obviously written by a male author who knows how to write about other men without creating caricatures, one particular scene with some old farmers had me cracking up to no end. There is so much going on in this book with the underlying theme of music and religion that it was almost too much to take in during one sitting but I couldn't seem to tear myself away. seemichelleread.blogspot.com
Samira91 More than 1 year ago
Marcello in the Real World was a fantastic read! It has a bit of a slow start, but once the setting and everything about Marcello's character is set clear, it dives into such an interesting plot! Marcello is a seventeen year old boy who has a disease that is on the furthest spectrum of Autism. He hears in his head what he calls "Internal Music" which tends to be more of a feeling than a sound. This music is extremely symbolic in the plot because he turns to it whenever he is feeling any negative emotion or very happy. Although he is a bit slow in getting things done, he is actually quite brilliant and has the maturity of an adult. But he also has no sense of what certain emotions such as jealousy, sexual attractions, anger, sympathy, and so much more. He also learns about beauty from a character named Wendell, and this new learning plays a huge role for him. But by being taken out of what his comfort zone was, he is given the chance to truly develop those feelings. His father believes that he is perfectly normal and can function in the real world without believing he is in special need of attending a special school. So his father makes a deal with him to get him to experience the real world throughout his summer. Marcello is put into multiple experiences where he has to make decisions, and these situations are what help him grow into being capable of surviving in the real world. He deals with many complicated concepts of life throughout the story as well and finds himself getting deeply involved with a few particular situations in the book. Those very situations help him to understand the person that his father is, help him understand the lives of others, and also what he can do for others. Each character in the book is involved in the development of Marcello.
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
Unlike many of the books I read and review in the young adult arena, I was not able to skip through this text quickly. I found myself reading a few chapters and then pondering on the implications of the text and the honesty it forced me to face in my own life. Marcelo has this way of relating experiences in their most simplistic form, breaking things down from the complexity that we often try to shroud our interaction and thought process with in order to pursue negative and destructive behavior that we ultimately know is wrong and bad for us and others. It caused me to question why we interact with each other in certain ways, and what prohibits us from being living in honesty and decency. It reminds me of many of the conversations I have around 'sharing' music, a term we use to defend something that it, in reality, is nothing but stealing. We have many methods we use to doublespeak ourselves into believing that this kind of behavior in all aspects of our lives is not only 'ok' but should actually be 'encouraged.' Through our selfishness, we create our own systems of misery and suffering, and I believe that a character like Marcelo has the capability to help us refocus and put it all back into perspective-cause and effect, action and consequence. As for the story itself, it's beautifully written, and I enjoyed every last word. It reads as if Stork truly took the time to create a rich, engaging, and educational experience for his audience. It's been several days since I've finished, and although I'm in the midst of other books, this text has stuck with me as I continue to process through my priorities and the way I live my life in general. Marcelo is a believable character who goes through a painful transition and an arc that is riddled with sadness and joy. I think, in many ways, his journey helps to remind us that the 'real world' is more complicated than we'd like it to be, but that we often create that drama for ourselves. I recommend this to all readers 13+. -Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com
Luvskat More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I've re-read Marcelo in the Real World so many times, and still I'm blown away from the story. Marcelo's voice in this book is wonderful; I get so much enjoyment reading it from his view. Great humor was added in appropriately, but there's still an underlying serious tone that made me stay up at night to think and read. I loved it. I recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was required to read this past semester. I appreciate my teacher picking such an awesome book! Being inside the mind of someone that is trying to grasp the "real world" when he is already a part of it, made me feel frustrated for Marcelo. It is a very interesting book. Recommend it to anyone.
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
Marcelo In The Real World was one of those books that I kept saying I would get around to reading and then pushed off because of other, shinier books that were lurking nearby. When you're repainting your room and have boxes of books that you can't go through, though, you tend to grab what's at the top; Marcelo's story was what I grabbed. I'm sad I procrastinated reading this. It's a fantastic book with absolutely lovable characters - I didn't want to put it down. Marcelo is absolutely adorable; completely innocent and thoughtful and wonderful. Does he have a slight mental disorder? Sure. But I much prefer him to every other male in the book. (When you read the book, I'm sure you'll agree.) I liked Jasmine a lot; when you discover how she (kind of) got her job, you headdesk a little, because you like and respect her enough as a character to have wanted something different. (That's all I can say without being spoilery.) But I loved her character and I love how everything with her and Marcelo and the other characters wrapped up at the end. The writing is b-e-a-utiful. (Bruce Almighty reference? Anybody? Oh, okay.) Really, though; the writing IS beautiful. I love how Stork was able to show the way that Marcelo thought about the world without making him seem like a moron, like I feel a lot of writers could have.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
It's not really a three, but wasn't quite a four. Seventeen year old Marcelo Sandoval is different. He hears music no one else can hear, his social development is stumped, and his special interests include religion, classical music, and therapy ponies. Marcelo is looking forward to a summer of working as a stable boy at Paterson, a school for kids with special needs, when his father tells him that he must get out of his comfort zone and join the "real world" or else he won't be able to go to Paterson for his senior year. The real world in this case is his father's law firm's mailroom where Marcelo will have to learn how to get along with Jasmine, his beautiful and quirky boss, complete tasks on time, and wade the truth out of all the corporate muck. I was a tad disappointed in this book. It wasn't Marcelo. I loved him. I could read books in his voice all the time and never get sick of it. It's blunt, but honest and insightful. Marcelo was a great character, and the topic of autsim didn't deter me either. I was quite excited to see how he would survive in an average person's reality. I also liked Jasmine and Arturo, as well as Marcelo's fluctuating relationships with them. I didn't like Wendell, but I wasn't supposed to. He was the designated douche. What I really didn't like was practically the entire middle part which consisted of the "legal thriller". There was nothing thrilling about it. It was dull, and I found the discussions, both internal and external, to be dull too. I just felt that out of all the paths that this book could have taken, why this one? I would have rather liked to see it spent more on Jasmine and Marcelo's stay in Vermont, or with the Rabbi or something. I just didn't like that part. Marcelo was a great character though, and overall the book was a worth-while experience. I recommend it to anyone looking to get into the head of an autistic kid. Oh, and the author's name is epic. Francisco X. Stork? Sounds like a James Bond character. I really hope it isn't a pseudonym.
TXBookworm More than 1 year ago
Another reviewer said it started slow, but I thought it was nearly perfect from beginning to end. Endearing yet so real. It challenges our society's concept of 'right v. wrong' and what true success really is. I thought the profanity in the Vermont scenes was a little too much for a YA book, but that is the only criticism I can find and I'm sure the author just felt that added to the realism. Maybe it did, I just don't like to read it. Anyway, I would recommend this book (and already have) to every book lover, YA or not...b/c I'm not :O)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Marcelo is seventeen and has an Asperger's-like condition. He goes to a special school and has a summer job lined up caring for the therapy horses at his school. But Marcelo's father has other plans - he wants Marcelo to experience the real world. He gets Marcelo a job working in the mail room of his law firm. Marcelo isn't interested in working at the law firm, but his father makes him a deal - survive in the real world and he won't have to go to the public high school his father would like him to attend for his senior year. While working at the firm, Marcelo uncovers secrets, experiences friendship, fights a battle for justice, and learns about the real world. I was first drawn to this book because of Marcelo - I was interested in reading a book written from the perspective of a character with Asperger's. I thought it would be a story about Marcelo navigating the real world, but there was so much more. Marcelo finds himself faced with tough decisions, and fighting a battle between what's right and wrong, and I think anyone can relate to his struggles. There's some mystery, some romance, and even some religious searching all packed in these pages. Marcelo hears internal music and music is a connection for Marcelo and Jasmine, his co-worker in the mail room. This novel is beautifully written and there were times I could hear the music in Marcelo's words. I also enjoyed the fact that the book is written in first person from Marcelo's point of view. It was interesting to get inside Marcelo's head and understand how he processed things. Jasmine is an inspiration. She's patient, she's kind, and she's smart. We could all hope to be like Jasmine, especially when dealing with people who are "different." If you want to see the real world through new eyes, be sure to pick up a copy of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.
robin_titan More than 1 year ago
Rating: 5/5 Age R: Because of certain material I believe it's at least pg-13 Thoughts: Marcelo is a 17 year old guy who has an autistic-like condition, not necessarily Asperger's but similar. He can hear music in his mind, Internal Music (IM). It's like experiencing the feelings one gets when listening to music, except without the music. Marcelo's "special interest" is religion. He often sees his mother's best friend, a female rabbi even though he's Catholic, to talk about religion and life. Marcelo lives in a tree house, has a dog called Namu, short for Namu Amida Butsu, a Buddhist prayer, so basically everytime you read his name you are praying. Nifty huh? So far he's been used to attending a school called Paterson for special needs students, but now his lawyer father, Arturo, wants him to get out and experience the "real world" and if he can follow the "rules" he will go to Oak Ridge High School after the summer, which of course Marcelo does NOT want to do because he believes he will not fit in with the other students, but his father insist he work during the summer. This is how he ends up working at his father's law firm in the mail room, alongside Jasmine and her beautiful azure eyes. Unfortunately Marcelo has to deal with quite a few problems: -the a-holes he has to work with (so rude and crule they can be!) -the difficult decisions he keeps coming across -the new discoveries he makes -how to help the girl in a picture he found in a box marked "trash" -what to do about one of the a-holes, Wedell who has "things" in mind about Jasmine -figure out why he can't hear the IM anymore Reading in Marcelo's POV was incredible. I loved how Stork chose to write this book in that format it makes the reader really connect with Marcelo. I loved that I could relate to Marcelo, not just because he is Hispanic like me, but because of what he goes through. Okay I'm not autistic, but everyone goes through life and it's many complicated problems. It is different for all of us though of course, but hey what can we do? :D I think that we, those considered normal, are all abnormal and that Marcelo is the normal one. He is one of the most amazing protagonists I have ever read about and I know I will be reading this book again. It warmed my heart, it really did. This book is one of those books that changes your life and your way of perceiving it. YOU WILL ENJOY THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: -The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon -reading about autism -POV of a semi-autistic person -life changing novels -a protagonist you'll want to have in your life -unforgettable novels -humor -sadness -reading about the cruelty of the world -coming of age novels -love -music -reading about religion -unpredictable novels (gotta love surprises) -heart warming novels -must reads :D -Bless Me Ultima by Adolfo Anaya
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Marcelo's father makes him leave his dream summer job to work in his law firm. He entices him to work by promisting that if he works the summer and does a good job that he can go back to his old school and not have to attend the public school. Marcelo realizes that the real world is much tougher and decisions must be made that could change everyone's life.
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The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
17-year-old Marcelo has an Asperser’s-like condition. He has lived a sheltered life until the summer before his senior year of high school, when he is pressured into working at his father’s law firm for a summer. Marcelo learns many “real world” lessons—some sad, some uplifting. This was a wonderful little book. Although I really felt bad for Marcelo when he had to learn some of his life lessons, I also felt that it was good for him to learn these lessons. These mixed feelings of compassion for Marcelo’s situation made this a memorable book. There was one fleeting moment in this book where I felt that Stork had packed perhaps a few too many lessons into too small a space…but other than that the book was perfect.
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This book arrived in a timely mannar. The book was in great condition upon arrival. Could not ask for better service.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book and i love the main character. I love how he has this gift. I want this gift. I would do any thing to be the girls that were around him. Hehe
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