As part of a compromise and deal, so he can go back to his special school for his final year and help look after the ponies he loves, Marcelo must spend the summer break working in the mailroom of his father's law firm. His father thinks that some time in the real world will help snap Marcelo out of his head - the same head in which Marcelo hears beautiful music and spends much of his time. Jasmine is in charge of him at work, and though at first she's frustrated by his slowness, she quickly learns how to interact with him and they become friends. When Marcelo finds a photograph of a girl whose face has been severely damaged as a result of the faulty windscreens made by one of the law firm's clients - and he learns that the whole debacle is just going to be swept under the rug - he has to decide what is the right and best thing to do.
With its wonderful characterisation and tight plot (softened by the poetic, meandery way it's written), this is a really beautiful novel about kindness and friendship, and about confronting the bad things in life as well as the good.
Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, Natalie Standiford (Scholastic)
It is Christmas and Lou Almighty is very upset with the Sullivans. One of them has offended her and if she does not receive a written confession and apology by New Year's Day they will all be removed from her will, and therefore cut off from her substantial inheritance. The family - Ginger, Daddy-o, St John, Sully, Norrie, Jane, Sassy and little Takey - get together and decide who it could have been to offend their fearsome grandmother so much. Unanimously, they decide it must be one of the girls:
"And so it was agreed that the three girls - Norrie, Jane, and Sassy - would spend their Christmas break writing out a full confession of their crimes, to be handed to Almighty by midnight on New Year's Eve. After that, they would have to hope for the best."
Was it Norrie's falling in love on the boy from her Speed Reading class that did it? Was it Jane's tell-all blog? Or was it that Sassy had murdered someone?
A wonderful, very funny and must-read book. Written with the same ease found in How to say goodbye in robot (my review here) - and perhaps even better dialogue - this one is an American, more grown-up, version of Hilary McKay's Casson family stories and also a little reminiscent of Nancy Mitford too.