Marcelo in the Real World

Stork, Francisco X.

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Marcelo in the Real World
Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.

Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780545054744
Branch Call Number: y STORK 2009
Characteristics: 312 p. ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, is forced to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm. Getting close to a girl and discovering a breach of ethics further threaten his equilibrium.

Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 22, 2014
  • MindyShepherd rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is my second reading of Marcelo in the Real World. What elevates it as a work of literary fiction are the various strands of moral tension, the beauty of the writing, the thought-provoking insights, and the inexorable growth of main character, Marcelo, a teenager at the high end of the autistic spectrum. Author Stork was fortunate to work with C. Klein, whose steady editorial hand can be seen in the book's impeccable structure, pacing, and high emotional stakes. I recommend it highly.

Oct 17, 2013
  • bette108 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Sweet and humorous a well as thought provoking. However, I thought it had a simplified ending that somewhat "missed" - a bit too Pollyanna for me.

Aug 02, 2013
  • jaygamini rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an awesome book! I would read this book again and again!

May 28, 2013
  • Vero_biblio rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

What a great piece of Teen fiction! It deals with Asperger syndrome, which in itself is quite an interesting topic, but it's much more than that. The plot also deals with ethics in litigation law, standing up for yourself and for those around you, and with finding out who you are and what you want as a young adult. What a great book!

Jun 26, 2012
  • Yahong_Chi rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The hype surrounding this title seemed like the ideal amount: mentioned a few times in literary publications, a starred review in Publishers Weekly, winner of a somewhat-obscure book award. (Huh. My idea of "ideal hype" doesn't involve any raving book blog reviews. It'd be interesting to examine that idea further.) But it looks like my expectations still ended up a wee bit too high.

Let's start with Marcelo. He's introduced to the reader in a variety of situations in which he's comfortable, allowing us time to get used to his unique viewpoint. There are pages solid with passages of his narration that are, not if exactly likeable, certainly thought-provoking. And perhaps in that Stork has accomplished the most impressive feat of capturing the true voice of a teen with Asperger's; an ordinary person wouldn't ever comprehend the way he or she thinks.

One strike against this book is the side characters. Oh, they're all intricately layered, but none are quite all the way on Marcelo's side. Therefore, the feeling that we're in over our heads never goes away, which makes the 300 pages a little uncomfortable. Rabbi Heschel is a spout of wit and wisdom; in contrast, Wendell is cruel pond scum and Arturo (Marcelo's father) isn't worthy of his son. Even Jasmine stays a bit too enigmatic for my taste.

(Goodness. At this rate, I'll probably end up nominating Namu as my favourite side character.)

The first fifteen or so chapters are paced on the slow side, with Stork laying down the groundwork through Marcelo's observations of his workplace. What the groundwork was for soon becomes apparent, and it's that particular mystery that rings true the most (and also picks up the pace). Instead of facing touchy issues like lust, competition and hate, injustice is at the heart of this plotline, making it much easier for the reader to side with Marcelo.

Okay, I'm just going to drop all remaining vestiges of professionalism here and say Marcelo in the Real World didn't ring a chord, though I felt like it had the potential to. It's definitely still worth a read, because I can see the good parts of it. It's just not for me, I guess.

Apr 28, 2012
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I found Marcelo in the Real World to be an exceptional book about a young man who has autism. He is on the higher end of the spectrum, and his father, who apparently has some difficulty in accepting that his son is different, has decided that he should spend the summer working in his law office. He is hoping that Marcelo will agree to go to regular high school in the fall rather than staying at the special school that he has been attending.

Being seventeen, Marcelo is at an age of questioning everything. He ponders on matters of trust and loyalty, sex and friendship, religion and music, all with his own unique way of looking at things. As we work through his thought processes with him and see how people he comes into contact with treat him, it is impossible not to fall in love with him.

Working at the law firm and allowing himself to be stretched this way, Marcelo eventually stumbles upon a moral decision that he must make. This decision could have averse affects for both himself, his family and the law firm.

This story of self-discovery, told in such a unique voice was a wonderful read. Compelling and thought-provoking, my only complaint was as authentic as I found Marcelo’s voice, many others in this story felt too formal and stiff. Marcelo himself is far from perfect, I can only imagine how difficult it is for parents to cope with a son who really prefers to be on his own, would rather live outside in a tree house than in the family home, doesn‘t like to be touched, and becomes obsessed over details. Marcelo in the Real World gives us a different type of hero to root for and a fair picture of what living in the real world can be like for people who are classed as being different.

Dec 17, 2011
  • TRavelingTRish rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Marcelo is quite likable and that makes this book a genial read! Insightful line: "For all the pain I saw at Paterson, it is nothing compared to the pain that people inflict upon each other in the real world"

Nov 21, 2011
  • CSchmidt1 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An enjoyable and insightful work of fiction from the perspective of a young man with autism. It helps the reader to appreciate the conflicts encountered when an incredibly literal person who is not neuro-typical struggles to make his way in the "real world." Some language is course but only as necessary to accurately reflect authentic situations and individuals. It can be heartbreaking when you reflect that the rules and values we try to instill in children growing to adulthood are the same rules we often bend to the point of breaking. Inspiring.

Aug 23, 2011
  • taraw104 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I loved the characters and couldn't put the book down once I got into it. The writer definitely succeeded in the suspense department for me. He also did a great job of giving the reader a glimpse into the mind of a teen with Asperger's. Enjoyable read.

Jun 20, 2011
  • momlovesbooks17 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I loved this story! It gave me some understanding of what is going on in the mind of someone with Aspergers. There was some suspense in the book and it was a great story - showing the good and evil in the world.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Apr 26, 2011
  • andrewha1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

andrewha1 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 21

Dec 07, 2009
  • TamaraTracy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

TamaraTracy thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Notice

Aug 23, 2011
  • taraw104 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Aug 23, 2011
  • taraw104 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at MCL