By Hannah Moskowitz
Expected publication March 19, 2013 by Roaring Brook Press
Stephen knows that he's pretty much just Marco's sidekick - but he's mostly been okay with that. Now, though, Marco is planning their biggest heist yet - breaking into prom to declare his love for the super-cute Benji - and Stephen is not so sure it's the best plan. Can they make this their best heist ever? Or will the threats that have followed Marco be too much for them to face?
I read my first book by Moskowitz quite recently, the lovely Teeth. I quite enjoyed it, so when I saw that Moskowitz had a middle-grade novel coming out, I immediately requested an e-galley. Marco Impossible was not as unexpected as Teeth had been, but it was no less compelling. Once again, I think the strongest aspect of Moskowitz's story is the examination of relationships. Though she doesn't focus as heavily on sibling relationships as in Teeth, they are touched upon again here, and they are once again examined clearly and realistically. Instead, the relationship that is focused on most heavily in Marco Impossible is the evolving relationship between best friends. Stephen and Marco have been best friends for years but with the intrusion of middle school and crushes and all that, their relationship is not as steady as it once was. The story is told from Stephen's point of view and I think it works well - we see his relationship with Marco just through his eyes, but astute readers will pick up on Marco's feelings about their friendship easily. I love that Marco and Stephen have remained friends for all these years, despite their differences and through all their crazy heists and cases.
This book also deals with some heavy issues - Marco is gay and is harassed at school, with Stephen also receiving the brunt of the bullying. Throughout the book, there is discussion of hate crimes around their town and Stephen worries that Marco could soon be a victim of something much worse than locker vandalizing. I like that Moskowitz doesn't shy away from depicting the violence of these kinds of crimes - there are not a ton of books for GLBT tweens, but they need to be just as aware of the issues as teenagers.
Overall, I think this is a well-done book, with great exploration of the difficulties that friendships go through in middle school. Additionally, it deals well with GLBT issues. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Moskowitz's books.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via NetGalley.