Marcelo Sandoval is a 17-year-old boy with an Asperger's-like condition. He attends a special high school but, at his father's request, will spend the summer working in the "real world" - the mailroom of his father's law firm, in this case. Afterwards, Marcelo may choose whether to return to special ed or be mainstreamed for his senior year. Highly intelligent Marcelo must learn to navigate a world filled with of nonverbal cues, sarcasm, and emotion.
A favorite quote:
...The real world.As vague and as broad as this term is, I have a sense of what it means and of the difficulties it entails. Following the rules of the real word means, for example, engaging in small talk with other people. It means refraining from talking about my special interest. It means looking people in the eye and shaking hands. It means doing things "on the hoof", as we say at Paterson, which means doing things that have not been scheduled in advance. It means walking or going to places I am not familiar with, city streets full of noise and confusion. Even though I am trying to look calm, a wave of terror comes over me as I imagine trying to walk the streets of Boston by myself. (page 20-21)
This is the second Young Adult novel I've read in as many years, and I loved it! It reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, another book my daughters and I all raved about. I'm curious though, why Marcelo is classified as YA and Curious Incident is not. Both are quite appropriate for high school students. Any thoughts?