Marcelo Sandoval has a condition that he likens to Asperger’s (an autism spectrum disorder) because it’s otherwise too difficult to explain. Because he did not fit in well with other kids, Marcelo’s parents enrolled him in Paterson — a private school for kids with “special needs.” While Marcelo would be more than content to finish out his education at Paterson, his father would like him to attend the local, public high school for his senior year. In an effort to acclimate Marcelo to “the real world,” his father insists that he take a summer job in the mail room of Sandoval and Holmes [his father’s law firm]. If Marcelo succeeds in this job, he will be able to make the decision about which school he would like to attend in the fall. If he fails, however, his father will be allowed to make the final decision.
Though the “tough love” approach seems a bit harsh at first, Marcelo proves his father right by making quick progress in his interpersonal skills. When he discovers a picture of an accident victim in a box of files, for example, Marcelo is so struck with empathy that he decides he has to figure out who the girl is and how he can help her. The biggest problem is, of course, that helping her could be bad for the law firm. This book heart-warming, captivating, thought-provoking, and beautifully written — and the narrator of the audiobook is spot-on! Definitely a book I would highly recommend.