Marcelo Sandoval, 17, is comfortable with his job caring for the ponies at Patterson, the expensive special education school he’s attended since first grade, comfortable with conversations with his mother’s friend, a down-to-earth woman rabbi, with whom he explores his obsession with religious writing and philosophy, comfortable living apart from (but close to) his family in what is essentially a luxury treehouse. Arturo, his father and a high-powered lawyer, wants Marcelo to move beyond his comfort zone into the “real world” by working a summer job in the mail room of his corporate law office. Marcelo, he promises, could then decide, himself, where to attend his senior year—a mainstream high school (which Arturo wants), or Patterson. Marcelo reluctantly agrees. Maneuvering his careful way around unfamiliar places, beginning an important relationship with his boss—a competent and beautiful young woman—questioning the ethics of his father’s most important client (and understanding that this will have financial and emotional fallout), Marcelo proves himself to be capable of enormous insight and growth. And essential goodness. It is a very great pleasure to have met Marcelo.— Ga, Children's Book Buyer
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and 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, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He 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.
Reminiscent of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" in the intensity and purity of its voice, this extraordinary novel is a love story, a legal drama, and a celebration of the music each of us hears inside.