Title: Marco Impossible
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Publication date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rating: ★★★★★/5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Middle Grade
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.
As part of the little initiative I’m taking to read all of Hannah’s work, I prepared myself for the cute by reading Marco Impossible.
Marco Impossible is this very sweet Middle Grade story narrated from the point of view of Stephen who happens to be Marco’s best friend. Set on the last day of middle school, Stephen and Marco get into one last shenanigan before high school. They’d probably murder me for calling their very-serious investigative work ‘shenanigan’ but they’re just so adorable I can’t help it.
Marco and Stephen have this incredible friendship that isn’t devoid from its problems and reading from Stephen’s point of view you get the sense that they are not on equal footing. I really felt for Stephen but Marco was also a very sympathetic character who just didn’t want you to feel bad for him. I truly enjoyed the distinctive voice these boys had even at the age of thirteen. Which brings up the topic of how proud I am to read about an openly gay boy at only thirteen. Sure, it kind of stressed me out because let’s admit it: kids can be ruthless, and Marco had his share of bullying. But Marco’s attitude towards it was so incredibly inspiring. Stephen too had a lot of loyalty to Marco which was the main cause of how bitter he felt about Marco going to a private high school.
The theme of separation was a very subtle yet there topic that got me very emotional. I too had to separate from at-the-time best friend when I graduated middle school and reading Stephen’s thoughts got me all nostalgic and honestly sad. I couldn’t entirely relate to Stephen since he and Marco were friends for years and years. What I really could relate to is Stephen’s big family. He comes from a Jewish family with five siblings! That’s the most number of siblings I’ve read to this day! I personally have 8! And Oh my god, Stephen’s affection for his siblings was so lovely and on page and it made me so happy to read about such strong familial relationships.
The bigger plot in the story however is Marco’s heist to get into the high school prom where his crush Benji was playing (part of the band) and to confess his love. I just went heart-eyes whenever Stephen would describe how Marco was so dramatic about Benji. It felt so relatable. Crushes, for the most part, are so fun to have. Sure, they’re agonizing 90% of the time, but the remaining 10 is cool I guess. I really liked the high esteem Stephen had for Marco even if he was exasperated by it at times. It was the kind of realistic relationships two young people would have.
There is also a very nice cast of minor characters like Stephen’s sister Julia, his own crush on Sasha, and even his little sister Catherine was adorable. I all in all loved these people a lot.
All in all, I recommend this a lot a lot a lot. It’s got cute boys in love, it’s got loyal friends, shenanigans, very nicely written female characters, and a lot of feelings.
About the Author
Hannah Moskowitz wrote her first story, about a kitten named Lilly on the run from cat hunters, for a contest when she was seven years old. It was disqualified for violence. Her first book, BREAK, was on the ALA’s 2010 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, and in 2013, GONE, GONE, GONE received a Stonewall Honor. 2015’s NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED was named the YA Bisexual Book of the Year. She’s also the co-author of GENA/FINN with Kat Helgeson and has contributed to several anthologies. She lives in Maryland with several cats, none of whom are violent.