Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Book Review Club (October 2014)




It's October and officially autumn. The nights are getting longer, and the weather's getting chilly. (At least in the mornings and evenings. Apparently, we're in for a heatwave this weekend. Ugh). It's still the perfect time to plump up your to-be-read list and settle in for a cuppa something warm, a bite of something sweet and a great boo

MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD (young adult)
 by Francisco X. Stork

I had a book all picked out to review this month. It was a good, solid book, and I felt fine recommending it. Then Child #4, my reluctant reader and 9th grader, told me about her weekend English homework. She had to respond with five written sentences to a prompt for every 20 pages read of her free-choice book. Cause that wouldn't kill a book for any reader! (another discussion for another time) Anyway, she chose to respond to the prompt: Would your parents like this book? Why or why not? And she wrote that her mother would love MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD because it's about an underdog teenager with autism and because it would remind her of WONDER


Naturally, I abandoned my chores and sat down immediately to begin reading MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. I read the ENTIRE book. All 312 wonderful pages. And, believe me when I say I had buckets of things on my to-do list. Buckets of things that got ignored. But, oh well.  When a book grabs you, everything else goes out the window, right?


In a nutshell: Autistic-like 17 year-old Marcelo is safe and comfortable at his special needs school. Determined that Marcelo learn to function in the real world, Marcelo's father forces his son to work in his law office's mail room for the summer.

What I loved: It's fascinating to watch Marcelo navigate the real (?) world of the law office and figure out who is friend versus who is foe.  The plot is very, very clever. I'm sure by the end, Marcelo's father is sorry he forced his son to work at his law firm. Ha! The characters are fleshed out and feel real.

What was a little meh: I could've done with less religion. Marcelo is really into religion and confides in a rabbi when trying to decide how to handle sensitive info he comes across at the law office. At times, I felt preached at. Although I'm particularly sensitive to that, and other readers may not feel the same way.

However, I heartily, heartily recommend MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. Heartily!

Dear FCC: I borrowed this book from the library. I know neither the author, Francisco X. Stork, nor his editor, Cheryl Klein. But I'd drop everything in a heartbeat if either one wanted to meet me for coffee. 

 And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

Stacy Nyikos: MAGGOT MOON by Sally Gardner (YA)


ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

Alyssa Goodnight: JANA BIBI'S EXCELLENT FORTUNES by Betsey Woodman
 
Ellen Booraem:  QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen

Linda McLaughlin: WHAT ROUGH BEAST by H.R. Knight (paranormal mystery)

Patti Abbott:  WELL READ, THEN DEAD by Terrie Moran (mystery)

Sarah Laurence: EUPHORIA by Lily King

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker (historical/paranormal)


 NONFICTION REVIEW

Jody Feldman: MATH DOESN'T SUCK: HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND OR BREAKING A NAIL by Danica McKellar




Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!







13 comments:

Sarah Laurence said...

How wonderful to get a book recommended by your daughter, and it sounds like a good book, although I'd probably have issues with preachiness too. Thanks for hosting!

Stacy said...

Sounds like a good one. I'll have to keep this on my list of potential Christmas presents for the 12-year-old. (Yes, I'm already thinking about holiday shopping. It's sad.)

I'm a little late in getting my review up, but it will be up this evening.

Ellen Booraem said...

I just read WONDER, and this one sounds like it would be every bit as compelling. Thanks for reminding me of it, Barrie! (And thanks to your daughter...)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

That was a great review! I'm glad you indulged and enjoyed this book! Maybe your daughter will keep you in mind as she reads the rest of this year's required reading… ;)

(My freshman just finished Jane Eyre. He didn't much care for it.)

Linda McLaughlin said...

Sounds like a good book, aside from the preaching. Perhaps something my great-nephew would enjoy.

Did you read The London Eye Mystery? The main character is also autistic and it's very well done.

Barrie said...

Linda, I LOVED The London Eye Mystery. I've even given it a few times as a gift. :)

Barrie said...

Alyssa, my freshman will have to read Great Expectations. I'm not expecting her to recommend that!

Barrie said...

Ellen, let me know what you think. I'm curious to hear if you like one better than the other.

Barrie said...

Stacy, I think your daughter would like this book. Has she read Wonder? Also, I'm already starting to think about holiday shopping. :)

Barrie said...

Sarah, you're very welcome for the hosting! Thanks for participating. And, you're right. It was very fun to get a recommendation from my daughter--she doesn't recommend a book lightly.

David Cranmer said...

Lots of great recommendations. As Always! Thanks, Barrie!

Barrie said...

You are welcome, David! Good to see you!

Lucy said...

Sounds like a good story . . . something I would enjoy.

(sorry about being late to the party :( )