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Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz

Marco Impossible

by Hannah Moskowitz

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Stephen has always been the sidekick of the super-sleuth duo he shares with his best friend Marco. Now Marco is getting bullied for being gay, a nerd, and the being a fanatic detective, and Stephen is trying to do his best to solve this mystery behind his "boss's" back. It can be funny at times, and a good read, but Marco's personality will get in the way of many readers and he won't come off as a very likable character. Still, worth a read. ( )
  mpelleg | Feb 15, 2016 |
Marco is in love with a boy from his middle school. Stephen is used to being Marco’s sidekick and nothing more. When Marco chooses to go to the rich private high school, Stephen isn’t sure how he’ll survive being on his own. Marco, however, is only worried that his crush will never know his true feelings. Marco develops a heist to crash the senior prom and proclaim his love. This story is a good YA book, but probably not too interesting for older readers. It’s a bit unbelievable, with a lot happening in one night. Reminds me of teen movies like “Can’t Hardly Wait” and “Superbad”. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
Stephen has always been the sidekick of the super-sleuth duo he shares with his best friend Marco. Now Marco is getting bullied for being gay, a nerd, and the being a fanatic detective, and Stephen is trying to do his best to solve this mystery behind his "boss's" back. It can be funny at times, and a good read, but Marco's personality will get in the way of many readers and he won't come off as a very likable character. Still, worth a read. ( )
  RussianLoveMachine | Apr 27, 2014 |
See more reviews on Short & Sweet Reviews!

Y'all, I'll be straight up. This book has done something impossible: it's a middle grade book that I loved. Technically, it's probably right on the cusp between middle grade and young adult, but still. This book is everything I've ever wanted out of a book aimed at tweens/young teens and have never gotten before. The writing is simple and fast-paced enough to keep readers engaged, but there is enough depth and emotion to satisfy even older, picker readers like myself.

The book is narrated by Stephen, who is the best friend and often second-fiddle/wing-man/backup to Marco. Marco and Stephen have a close-knit friendship based on their love of solving mysteries, and they're often inseparable, but this story has a lot of growing pains for the lifelong friends as they begin edging towards young adulthood. Neither character is perfect, and Marco is especially hard to like sometimes. He can be moody, irrational, and self-centered, and has some ridiculous ideas -- but then again, doesn't that sound like lots of 13 year olds out there? Stephen is easier to like, as he's a bit more even-tempered, to the point where he kind of lets Marco walk all over him sometimes. You can tell that he resents this, but he doesn't quite know what to do about it. It's a tough spot for an adult to be in, let alone a teenager, so it's understandable that he struggles with their friendship and how it's changing.

Marco's grand plans for investigations have gotten the pair a bit of a reputation around school, but that doesn't stop Marco from trying to enact one last great heist before school is out and everyone goes their separate ways. He comes up with an elaborate plan to finally tell Benji how he feels, after pining after him for years. Of course, with all good caper stories, there are complications: it's a ridiculous plan to start with, and it relies on every step going just right. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that pretty much everything goes wrong. Add to that the fact that Marco's been dealing with some harassment at school for being gay, a fact that he tries to downplay for various reasons, and you've really got a recipe for disaster.

I think this is a really smartly written book that shows that sometimes there are no easy answers, that life isn't always fair, and that things don't always turn out the way you want, but it does it in a way that doesn't make these life lessons seem like downers. Life isn't always easy, especially for kids who are seen as different, and Marco Impossible doesn't try to hide this fact. On the flip side, the story also says that sometimes, going out on a limb with your feelings can result in good things, that there is always someone who cares about you, and that communication is essential to healthy relationships, be they romantic, friendship, or family. Many of the problems -- both in the main plot and in subplots regarding Stephen's and Marco's families -- could have been minimized if the people involved had just been more communicative with one another.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, quick contemporary story with lots of funny, memorable characters. Even though the main characters are boys, this book should appeal to girls as well, and there are some strong, sassy women as secondary characters in this book, anyway. There is some swearing and slurs, and as mentioned, Marco is bullied and threatened by other students. ( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
3.5 Stars

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. Benji 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. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
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"Two best friends and junior high students attempt to break into the high school prom so that one of them can confess his love for the adorable bass player of the prom band"--

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