Marco Impossible

248p. Roaring Brook. Mar. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-721-0; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-860-6.
Gr 6–8—Eighth-graders Stephen and Marco, who came out in the seventh grade, have been best friends and co-schemers in elaborate "heists" since elementary school. As they inch toward high school, when Marco will take off for a private school, a new weight is placed on their friendship. When Marco proposes an elaborate plan to sneak into the high-school prom and proclaim his love for British student Benji, a rocker who is heading back to London in a matter of days, it seems the perfect way to have one last adventure before the boys go their separate ways. An imperfect plan and some tense and very real confrontations with a school bully bring out issues in the boys' friendship that have been simmering below the surface. The knock-'em-out resolution, in which the good guy not only defeats the bully, but also wins a kiss from his dream boy, will make readers pump their fists with excitement, and the strain in Stephen and Marco's friendship exemplifies the growing pains that many will be able to relate to. Moskowitz's novel, which plays out in a matter of two days, successfully portrays the world of middle school both as it is and as it might be-one in which parents are faulty, but the boy gets the boy and the school bully gets it square in the nose.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

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