Seventeen-year-old Marcelo Sandoval lives in world filled with music. He attends a special school, loves animals, obsessively studies religion, and gets lost in the melodies in his head. But according to his father Arturo, who does not accept the Autism-like condition doctors have struggled to diagnose, it's time that Marcelo must face life.
Arturo strikes a deal with his son: Marcelo will work in a prominent Boston law firm for one summer and follow all the rules of the "real world", in exchange for being allowed complete his senior year at his beloved private school for kids with disabilities. If he fails at the task, he will be mainstreamed into the public school system.
We see life through Marcelo's eyes as he accepts the challenge and overcomes being "different" in order to please his father and ultimately, to return to his school. He learns hard lessons about injustice, honesty, competition and jealousy, as well as life lessons in love, trust and friendship. But when he finds a picture of a badly disfigured young girl and discovers his father's role in her injuries, Marcelo begins to make his own connections with the real world and realizes that in life, as in music, "the right note sounds right."
This novel is a great coming-of-age story mixed with a little legal suspense. It is available through the Cecil County Public Library's Young Adult collection, but anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to cross paths with a young person on the Autism Spectrum will rejoice in the delightful tale of the human condition.
Recommended by Priscilla Garvin