Marcelo in the Real World

The third novel from Francisco X. Stork, Marcelo in the Real World is the story of Marcelo Sandoval and his discovery of the world the rest of us think we know.


Behind the Eyes cover   Seventeen-year-old Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear, part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify.
Marcelo is tagged with a "developmental disorder" because of his pervasive interest in God and all things religious and because he does not relate to others as expected. 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 Jasmine, a beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. Marcelo learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file — a picture of a girl with half a face — that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.



"This book is wise and thought-provoking, tense and beautiful. I wish only that there could be more Marcelos in the real world.”

 – Han Nolan, National Book Award winner for Dancing on the Edge

"Marcelo in the Real World is mesmerizing, a coming-of-age story in the realest sense — leaving the Eden of an extended childhood and slowly awakening to the knowledge of good and evil both outside and within. Marcelo's voice is at once innocent and knowing, and the challenges he faces compelling. There were moments that made me feel as though I were seeing the world for the first time, and, along with Marcelo, wondering how it is to be endured."

– Sara Zarr, National Book Award nominee for Story of a Girl