Review: Marco Impossible

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Marco ImpossibleMarco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz
Published by Roaring Brook Press on March 19, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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.

First Sentence: “Our last day of middle school was supposed to be amazing, but instead Marco and I are standing at the sinks in the gray boys’ bathroom trying to wash half a snow cone out of my hair.”

Marco Impossible is my second Moskowitz novel, and it could hardly be more disparate from Teeth. Sure, both have male first person POVs (interestingly, both are told from the perspective of the character you wouldn’t expect to be the main character) and LGBT themes, but the mood and writing of the two pieces are so different. Marco Impossible is often frustrating, but ultimately so satisfying, sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

Why the book is titled Marco Impossible becomes apparent really quickly. Marco’s a force to be reckoned with, and he’ll steamroll anyone who gets in his way. He’s tiny, he’s loud, he’s proud, and he’s completely determined to declare his love to Benji, the hot British bass player he’s been crushing on, before he transfers schools. In true Marco fashion, he can’t tell Benji via a letter or in person at school; no, he has to make a dramatic gesture. Thus begins a complicated series of events as Marco and his best friend, Stephen, plan to break into the Prom, where Benji’s band is playing, so Marco can confess.

Actually,though, the story is less about Marco’s relationship with Benji than his relationship with Stephen. Marco and Stephen have been best friends for ages, partners in solving crime. Even their families are close, which is why Marco’s staying with Stephen’s huge family while his parents are in Japan adopting a baby girl. Lately, or maybe not just recently, Stephen’s been feeling frustrated with their friendship, with being the sidekick, with being the straight man (both literally and figuratively) on the Marco Show.

Stephen supports Marco with everything and will even take hits for him (since not everyone’s cool about Marco’s being gay), but a lot of the time he can’t really remember anymore why they’re best friends. He hates that Marco never listens to him or takes his advice. For example, Marco is being a total brat about his new sister, because he likes being an only child. Stephen, who has five siblings of his own, keeps trying to convince Marco that he’ll love his little sister, but Marco continues to whine endlessly.

What really has Stephen upset, though, is that Marco is leaving him behind. How can Marco go to some fancy prep school and leave Stephen alone? Stephen doesn’t even know why he’s going. It’s one thing being just a sidekick, but now he feels like he’s being abandoned by the hero. Throughout Marco Impossible, Stephen becomes more and more fed up with Marco, and the way Marco never wants the spotlight on anyone but himself and ignores Stephen’s input and feelings. I was really surprised by how painful most of this book was to read, because I’ve had a lot of problems with friends in the past, and this just got me in the feels.

No worries, though, because the story does end in a happy place, which, normally, I might complain about, but it was just right for this middle grade story. Marco and Stephen needed to have a happy ending, or at least a happy closing to their heist. That said, I would have appreciated a little bit more closure on some of the familial plot lines, most especially Marco’s issues with his family’s changes.

Hannah Moskowitz tends to write darker novels, but she does an excellent job with this touching middle grade story. Marco Impossible is full of heart, focused on the difficulties of loving someone, even your very best friend.

Favorite Quote:

“We had pretty much the hardest night ever. And it was awesome.”

18 responses to “Review: Marco Impossible”

  1. Nori says:

    I love the way this book sounds! It’s not exactly what I was expecting. But, I like that the emphasis is on the friendship. I love that Marco (the good and the bad) seems to be defined by a lot more than just his sexual preferences. I’m excited to read this one.

    • Christina says:

      Oh yeah, Marco definitely isn’t some cookie cutter stereotype. I really appreciated how well-rounded he is, and that he’s known for athletic skills, even though he’s tiny.

  2. KM says:

    Man, I can’t read Hannah Moskowitz books because she really irritates me. I don’t think I’ve forgiven her for talking about female MCs in such a condescending way. Plus, it seems a little political to write a LGBT MG, right? I feel like it is. I don’t know. MG just doesn’t seem the place to talk about sexuality to me, whether homosexual or heterosexual.

    • Christina says:

      What did she say about female MCs? I’ve not heard anything about that. Ummm, I guess it might be a little political, but it shouldn’t be. By middle school people have their crushes, and gay kids are going to have gay crushes. It would be a bit weird if they were sexing it up or something, but it’s really not overwhelming or anything. It’s cute, like any other MG romance. The romance is really understated, just a crush, for the most part. There’s also a heterosexual crush, so it’s not like dissing straight couples.

  3. Audra says:

    Sounds kind of interesting — love that there’s MG LGBT books now — makes my little gay heart happy!

  4. This sounds like a great coming of age tale, and we don’t always get that in YA fiction. Wonderful review Christina and I am glad that you liked it.

  5. Kat Balcombe says:

    Marco sounds like an awesome character – I love when they are so individual and unique. I’m looking for another Moskowitz book to read, maybe this one is what I’m looking for….

    Great review 😀

  6. Soma Rostam says:

    Well, it’s nice
    I have heard a little about the author but her books look amazing
    I might read them someday
    Your reader,

  7. Amy says:

    This sounds good. I have been wanting to read more MG books lately and this one sounds like one I would enjoy. I really like that it tackles the LGBT topic. I mean the age group the book is intended for is when you really do start to explore crushes and all that. I have only read one book by this author and it was a graphic novel. I did enjoy it though. Great review!

    • Christina says:

      So true. I think it’s important to have middle grade stuff about first crushes, gay and straight and both. Like, those years are SO awkward, and that’s when that stuff really starts. Kids need that in books so they know they’re not alone!

  8. While this wasn’t me favorite Moskowitz novel, I still enjoyed it quite a bit just like you. I liked Marco in a weird way. He always had these walls up and like you mention it’s always the Marco Show. I liked how their relationship is slowly unraveling throughout the story and how everything comes together really well in the end. I think in MG everything has to come together to a good place in the end, it’s a MUST for the genre!

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, I’ve only read two but I liked Teeth a bit better. I thought the relationship was really believable, but I spent most of the book really stressed out by their fight. The ending was super cute though!

  9. Molli Moran says:

    Sounds like a neat story! I heard the title but didn’t know it was a MG book. It sounds like something I might like at some point. I’ve never read any of Hannah’s books, but Marco really sounds like a stand-out character for sure. I’m glad you ultimately enjoyed it, Christina!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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