Title: Marco Impossible
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Date(s) read: March 8 – 13, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Thirteen-year-old best friends Stephen and Marco attempt a go-for-broke heist to break into the high school prom and get Marco onstage to confess his love for (and hopefully steal the heart of) Benji, the adorable exchange student and bass player of the prom band. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan, and every heist comes with its fair share of hijinks.
Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for review!
As I sit down to write this review, I’m not really sure what to write. I did like this book, my first read by Hannah Moskowitz, but not as much as I had wanted to like it. I liked how the story started off, with Marco and Stephen having their routine as detectives, solving crimes from a missing sock to the sudden appearance of a small toy on a teacher’s desk. I also really love the eye-catching cover, with the bomb about to go off — I think that’s what really caught my eye in the first place, leading me to want to read the story.
I think part of my problem with the story was Marco himself — I just couldn’t bring myself to like him. I think I was supposed to like him and, to an extent, feel sorry for him, but I just couldn’t. OK, I’m not that heartless — I felt sorry for him just a little bit, but he was just such a rude character and very pushy to always get his way that I wondered how Stephen could still remain friends with him. Now, Stephen, on the other hand, was a character I really liked. He just seemed so … normal. I really liked unfolding his story as I read and was very happy with how his ended.
But the friendship between the boys is what bothered me through most of the book. I’ve had those kinds of friendships growing up and it’s not fun to be constantly taken advantage of, or yelled at by someone who says they’re your friend. Maybe part of me wanted Stephen to tell Marco off? But Stephen was way too nice for that.
The pacing of the story was great, however — I liked that the whole story didn’t encompass too much time, but took place over the course of a few days. There wasn’t a lot that bogged down the plot and the story mostly had Marco and Stephen, with some secondary characters, like Stephen’s siblings and parents, as well as some school kids. There are parts that very funny, and other parts that are very sad, but I don’t think it took me to the emotional level that I had expected to be taken to.
I also had issues with certain things happening in the story (that I don’t want to mention and spoil for future readers!) being too neat. I’m not sure why it seems that middle grade books must be a little unrealistic and unbelievable, but I’m noticing that that happens. Of course, maybe this was just too much of a boy book for me. There was a bit of “romance” involved, but I wasn’t overly into the antics of the boys that I found myself putting the book down more often than I should have.
If you love Hannah Moskowitz, then I definitely recommend you give this one a try, but I think I might steer clear of boy books for a little while.