Here are ten reasons I'll be happy if this year's ALA Printz Award goes to MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork:
10.  The story is classic bildungsroman.

9.  We get a Latino teen guy protagonist who isn't in a gang, on the streets, or primarily defined by cultural angst.
8.  We're intrigued and captivated by descriptions of music. (Stork even created a playlist to accompany the book for the New York Times' blog, Paper Cuts.)
7. We're given a stark, honest portrayal of sexual tensions in the workplace.

6. Who doesn't enjoy a good legal thriller?

5.  We root with all our might for a flawed but brave hero in Marcelo.

4. We come to love a flawed but strong character in Jasmine.

3. We'll want to know more about an individual's situation the next time we hear the word "autism."

2.  Faith is expressed and explored freely.

1.  Justice rolls down as the "weak" are able to right wrongs perpetrated by the "strong."
Best of all, perhaps, is that I couldn't put it down. I really did love it, in the way that Stork himself defines the verb.  I'm looking forward to his THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, coming March 1, 2010 from Arthur A. Levine Books.


Sarah Rettger said…
Yes to all of those.
kristin cashore said…
Yes! This was my favorite book of the year. I loved it so much I gave it out as Christmas presents :o)
read it yesterday, and loved it. I want more Marcelo, although this book ties everything up so nicely no sequel is needed. But Marcelo's voice, his personality, are so captivating that i want more.
Shelf Elf said…
Mitali, this one sounds so rich. I've seen it on many, many readers' favourites lists. I must read it. (I confess I was a bit put off by the autism aspect - I've just read so many titles over the past few years with this as a central focus - but this one sounds like it's about much more in addition to that). Thanks for getting it back on my TBR list.
proseandkahn said…
I listened to the audio (because I knew I wouldn't get to the actual book very soon) and absolutely fell in love with Marcelo. I agree with all your reasons why we should love this book. Until I read another much buzzed title, I was all for Marcelo. It will be ve-ry interesting next Monday. I do not envy this Printz committee!
MissAttitude said…
I loved it for all those reasons too! Especially because as you stated, you learn to really look beneath the surface of autism. And it was nice to have a Latino mc who wasn't in a gang. I was suprsied that it turend out to be a legal drama, but I loved that too.

It was definitely one of my favorite books of 2009. Amazing. I really hope it wins the ALA Printz Award.

I hadn't seen the playlist link, I'm going to check it out!
Kara said…
Wow, great list! I'm adding this one to my list right now.

I can't wait to look back next year at the books I've read in 2010. I've picked up so many wonderful recommendations in the last week. Hopefully I can find the time to read them all :)
Beth Kephart said…
I am convinced!
Mordena said…
I loved this, too, for all the reasons you've given. I also found it refreshing (and funny) to read a teen voice completely devoid of attitude.
Doret said…
This was my favorite book of 09. I loved it so much.

I am so glad it was classified as YA -it could've gone either way. If it was in fiction I would've missed such a beautiful story.

I don't know what the Last Summer of the Death Warriors is about but I will be reading it.
This book brought me to tears, I loved it so much. Beautiful characters, story, and writing -- just gorgeous all round.
Sarah N. said…
I've had this one on my list for awhile but your review makes me want to bump it up. It sounds wonderful!
I so completely agree with you. And I love your well-articulated reasons. Like Kristin Cashore, I gave the book as a Christmas gift to my teenage son. (Who usually reads adult books.)

Though I do hope that Kristin's own book, FIRE, will be in the running and win at least an Honor!
A great list of reasons! I also love Marcelo--he is such an amazing character.

We are going to be reading Marcelo next month at StorySleuths (www.storysleuths.com). I hope Marcelo fans will join in with comments about Francisco X. Stork's fantastic writing.