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Marcelo in the Real World

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  18,347 ratings  ·  2,869 reviews
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world." There Marcelo meets Jasm ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published March 1st 2008)
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JaneHerbst This is a different type of child, with a different level/type/functioning level, and with an understanding that grows through the book. While Asperge…moreThis is a different type of child, with a different level/type/functioning level, and with an understanding that grows through the book. While Asperger's isn't the exact diagnosis, the term autistic spectrum reaches a long distance to both ends. Marcelo is a high functioning 17 year old who can explain himself but doesn't always understand language that doesn't fall into a standard phraseology.(less)
Philipp Keller it has a few very explicit and vulgar conversations about sex, especially one towards the end of the book in a conversation with the father of Jasmine

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
first, some blathering. it is, after all, me...

i understand why writers like carl hiaasen and james patterson and them are now writing books for younger readers, after having already established themselves as writers of adult fiction with considerable staying power. get 'em while they are young and then when they grow into the adult section, they already have the name-recognition. friends for life, paying their electricity bills...

but why do authors like this one and suzanne collins write exclu
I have a lot of conflicting emotions about this book.

The good: It's a fast read and an interesting story. There's shades of gray, interesting moral dilemmas, attention to detail that makes situations and characters come brilliantly to life, and a main character whose situation is way intriguing. An autistic teenager who's gone to a school for disabled kids his whole life, and now suddenly has to adjust to working at his dad's law firm for the summer. There's a lot of inherent conflict and story
Maggie Stiefvater
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
I actually finished this book a few days ago, and aside from a general glow of well-being and happiness, I wasn't sure what I thought of it. Was it really a five star book to go on my goodreads page? But then, after recommending it once every single day since then, I've realized . . . yep, it is. It's a quiet book, thanks to the subdued narration style on Marcelo's part, but it's a good one.

Marcelo is a very high-functioning autistic -- so high-functioning that even the label Asperger's doesn't
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: ala
Shelves: 2010, ya
Marcelo Sandoval is 17 and has a mild form of autism which makes him... well, different. Knowing that he is often perceived to be mentally challenged, Marcelo prefers to stay close to the circle of his friends and people who know that there is nothing wrong with him intellectually. He is planning to spend his final school year at Patterson, a specialized school where he is surrounded by the students just like him, he also has a summer job lined up working with horses in his school's stables. How ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Marcelo in the Real World, Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo Sandoval, is a seventeen-year-old who hears music in his head as a result of mild [autism], described as a “[cognitive disorder]” by his father. He attends a school that caters to the needs of special children. His father, a [lawyer], confronts Marcelo about needing experience in the “real world” and Marcelo ends up working at his father's [law firm]. At the law firm, Marcelo meets Jasmine, who works with him in the mail room. He also meets Mr
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning. I haven't read a book worthy of five stars in a while, and I am so grateful to my friend for recommending this to me.

Marcelo hears music that no one else can. He has been diagnosed with an impairment similar to autism, but higher-functioning - he can process things but it takes him time, and he is able to adapt to social situations through learning and experience. However, this is not enough to satisfy his father, a powerful and persuasive lawyer. His father decides to have
Mike Mullin
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is so good I may have to take a break from reading--anything else wouldn't measure up. It's so good I'm consumed with despair that I will never write anything as beautiful or as important. It's so good I can't review it properly--any words I might choose wouldn't do it justice. ...more
Morgan F
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 Pat
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
UPDATE 2/8/09

My initial impression still stands. Although I liked the way the author had the main character Marcelo speak, and how he added certain quirks that were realistic, Stork was unable to keep it consistent.. and some characteristics were not compatible w/someone w/Aspergers..such as speaking in literal terms only and then suddenly speaking/understanding metaphors, for example. The plot was sort of intriguing but I thought kind of trashy too.

Oh, I am not sure I like this book. A goodread
jelly frogs
I loved Marcelo. The struggles he faced as a not so normal guy in the real world were truly touching. I can't say the same for other characters, the only likable character we actually get to know being Marcelo's co-worker Jasmine.

There's nothing much to say about the plot of the book, given that it is what the title suggests. Marcelo in the real world, away from his comfort zone - how he struggles, makes mistakes and learns.

One of of the many things I looked forward to in this book was the musi
Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it

plɹoʍ lɐǝɹ ǝɥʇ uı olǝɔɹɐɯ
marcelo can be a bit naive, but not in an annoying way. he's naive in the way that makes you wonder how the hell you turned out so bitter and question why the world can't be as simple or straightforward as someone like marcelo sees it. marcelo is just a great person and anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend. many of the people marcelo encounters at the law firm treat him like crap or act as though he's stupid. so being marcelo's friend would probably lead me
Sherrie Petersen
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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 tha
Christine Jensen
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: High School

Format: Chapter Book

Awards: ALA Best Book for Young Adults (2010), ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2010)

At the insistence of his father, Marcelo, a male adolescent with a condition resembling Asperger’s Syndrome, is forced to participate in the “real world” by working at his father’s law firm over the summer. The typical behaviors of autism, accompanied by atypical introspection and insight, leads Marcelo into the position of contempl
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the best YA book I've read in a long, long time. It's the kind of book that makes me sad that the majority of the genre is filled with gimmicks and pandering, because it's always had the potential to be so much more. This book hit a bit close to home for me, but even if you're not compelled by the same moral issues that Marcelo is, I still think this is just a wonderful book that you'll probably enjoy. ...more
Dec 06, 2009 added it
Recommends it for: everyone. everywhere
Recommended to Claudia by: I heard the author at Philly
Shelves: ya-books
"Her belief is in her deeds." I'm paraphrasing, but one of the characters says this about Marcelo's mother when he worries about her possible loss of faith. The more I thought about this line, the more I realized it applies to each character in this exquisite YA novel. Marcelo's father, the high-powered, self-made lawyer, wants to force Marcelo into the 'real world,' a place Marcelo, with his Aspergers, has been sheltered from...His father believes the 'real world' will toughen Marcelo, make him ...more
Starlight  gold
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: school
This book is good but not for me
Okay here I go
His father is plain mean like he did understand him
When Marcelo wanted to go with Jasmine to visit her dad Marcelo 's dad made a lot excuses like Jasmine didn't she was not there for three whole days
I like Jasmine
She was just nice to Marcelo and care about him
Than there was a Wendell
Wendell was trying to make friends with Marcelo but he was just using him to Jasmine to club
Marcelo was the best character
The thing about him is he had to learn to
Mar 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
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 Buddhi ...more
Jun 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Marcelo in the Real World is the story of a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome who has spent his life attending a private school for kids with mental and physical disabilities. At the beginning of the book, we learn that Marcelo’s father wants him to spend a summer, and possibly next school year in “the real world” ~ working and interacting with people outside of his protected comfort zone. I’ve read so many good reviews and have been looking forward to this book for so long, that it is a huge di ...more
"If you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you're bound to like this," I was told. Ok, a ya book with an autistic protag. But then it became a ya book with an autistic protag about sexual objectification. Then, a ya book with an autistic protag about negotiating religious beliefs against lived experience. And then, ya book with autistic protag negotiates right notes vs wrong notes, asexuality, loyalty, trash-talking demented farmers and their kin. And finally I give up and ...more
Wow. So many great things to say about this one. I loved its treatment of various topics- religion, intelligence, ethics, desire, "rules" we play by, love, understanding people, communication, safety, forgiveness, anger, sex and what it means to be kind. I want to meet Marcelo and wish the best for him. I want him to get the girl and live peacefully, "with waters green, quiet and deep..." in Vermont. I just remembered the TED talk about storycorps by Isay and couldn't help but see Sarah and Josh ...more
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a touching story that defies categorization: part family story, part love story, part crime story. What will stick with me is the beauty of Marcelo's gentle spirit and his insightful interpretations of the "real world." ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unique, important, insightful, amazing. I can't level enough praise on it. One of the best novels I've read in the last 5 years. ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Meet Marcelo Sandoval. Read his story. Witness first-hand the transition from dream world to real world.

Marcelo has always been different. (He lives in a tree house, for example.) Lived in his own little world--not cut off from the world, by any means, but taking it in at his own pace, staying in his comfort zone, doing this much and no more. Marcelo has autism--Asberger's Syndrome to be exact. He's always chosen to attend a special school--Paterson--to be with children and teens who are differe
Guillermo Rojas
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I went into this book thinking it was going to be interesting for me to read but came out very disappointed. The book introduced way too many characters with pretty boring personalities in my opinion. I didn't bother to invest with the characters. The story moved way too slow for my liking, I kept giving them a chance and hoped it would get better but by that time I was already 100 pages in and I just kept reading it. Reading should not feel like a task but with this book, it felt like it was a ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
“The right note sounds right and the wrong note sounds wrong.”

This is a great coming of age story about an impaired boy named Marcelo. The author did a great job with the characters, especially Marcelo and Jasmine whom I liked most. However, it seemed also very black and white. The bad characters were bad and the good ones good.
I also found the ending to be very predictable. This is very common with contemporary novels, but I just would have hoped for a little bit more, even though I liked the s
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you for suggesting this book, Selina Llewelyn! I really liked how the author had his protagonist approach hard topics in a very candid way, and I love that he pointed out honesty is a strength for those on the autistic spectrum. I also appreciated that the author pointed out that autism is a spectrum, not a specific list that always is the same for each individual. The scene where Marcelo feels weird about saying he has Asperger's syndrome because he has some of the symptoms but not all ta ...more
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: my local library.

Marcelo is 17 and has Asperger Syndrome, which means he's on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. He's smart, good-looking, and socially inept. His special interest (aspies generally have one) is religion. He hears his own internal music. All Marcelo wants to do is to stay at his private special school, where he's learned to like who he is and has developed an interest in training ponies. But his lawyer father wants Marcelo to go to the local pu
Jan 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya
This book started out interestingly, with an interesting character voice and concept, but it did not hold together throughout, and by the end I was fed up and wishing to be done with it. The main character has something that is like Asperger’s but not actually Asperger’s, which makes it convenient for the author to pick his symptoms, I guess. He hears music in his head, has a special interest in religion, has trouble understanding people, and sometimes refers to himself and people he’s addressin ...more
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Do people with autistic children rate books with autistic characters harsher than others with neurotypical children? I have an autistic son and find that I rarely like books written from the autistic view point. I can't helping be overly critical of the characters and thinking "I don't think an autistic child would act that way" or "what is the parent thinking, how could he do that?" I know every autistic child is different and if you know "one" autistic child you know "one" autistic child. Yet ...more
Nov 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, audiobook
Still digesting this a bit, but my general feeling is that there was a bit too much going on, though much of it was wonderful. The combination of a regular coming-of-age story with a 'Asperger's is the closest to a description of my condition' one with a romance with a legal-mystery with a spiritual coming-of-age was a lot for one book, and I thought it left some of the elements which were resolved wonderfully in one sphere very much less so in another. The spiritual and the regular coming-of-ag ...more
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Francisco X. Stork was born in Mexico. He moved to El Paso Texas with his adoptive father and mother when he was nine. He attended Spring Hill College, Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He worked as an attorney for thirty-three years before retiring in 2015. He is married and has two grown children and four beautiful grandkids. He loves to discover new books and authors. His favorite boo ...more

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