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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