Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork

Reviewed by Julia, age 14, New York

Take a first person narration set in the present day, an autistic teenager, and a brutal law firm quick to abolish the weak. The result is Francisco X. Stork's brilliant novel, Marcelo in the Real World.

Judging from the cover and strategically written description by the online Nook Store, I expected to immerse myself in the fictional mind of seventeen year old Marcelo Sandoval as he navigates a law firm and finds first love. (Why else would the front cover display two figures holding hands in the starry night?) While the main plot was Marcelo's social progression in a summer job at his father's law firm, Stork embellishes the novel with a mystery Marcelo seeks to solve. This requires him to choose between following his father's instruction and returning to the school of his choice or discovering something only he could learn.

The cast of characters includes Marcelo's parents and sister, a rabbi, and a stone faced assistant who guides Marcelo through his day to day assignments. Since Marcelo is developed so thoroughly in the story many of the characters are not seen closely. The minimal development can be observed in many ways.

Francisco X. Stork was surrounded by people with mental complications his entire life and it shows through his comfortable storytelling. Marcelo encounters daunting city streets and an arrogant young man who attempts to use him to lure a hookup. His character is believable and relatable, and his struggles are thought provoking. Religion, poverty, and addiction are amongst other themes touched, but it is the reader who is left to make an informed decision regarding them.

I give Marcelo in the Real World a solid four stars (of a possible five).

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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