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.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.
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."