Throughout June, GeekMom celebrates Pride Month with lots of LGBTQ content. Follow the Pride Month tag to find all the content in one space (including LGBTQ content from previous years), and keep checking back for more throughout the month. Today’s book review is Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins.
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Trigger Warnings: homophobia, fatphobia, fat-shaming, bodyweight slurs.
Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins is a body-positive, Brazillian YA novel about two teenage boys who live in the same small town apartment building. It has been translated into English by Larissa Helena.
Felipe is a fat, gay, bullied seventeen-year-old who is looking forward to his winter break where he plans to hide in his apartment and binge-watch Netflix to his heart’s content. His plans are scuppered, however, when he arrives home from his last day of school to discover that his mother forgot to tell him they will have a guest in their apartment for the next two weeks. Even worse, the guest is Caio, the super-hot, gay, also seventeen-year-old neighbor who Felipe has a crush on, and will now have to share his room with.
Although the boys struggle to communicate initially, Felipe gets some advice from his therapist and his dead grandma (via the medium of fortune cookies), and soon he finds himself truly enjoying his days with Caio and spending time with Caio’s friends who actually seem to like him—much to Felipe’s confusion. They go to the mall, attend a local festival, and even hang out at the apartment complex pool, which Felipe has avoided since he was a kid due to feeling insecure about his weight. As the days pass, Felipe feels his attraction to Caio growing into something more substantial than a crush, but there’s no way a guy as good-looking as Caio will even think about a fat boy like Felipe, right?
This was a wonderful story that will make you smile from start to finish. Felipe is a fantastic character full of warmth, humor, and love, and anyone who has ever looked in a mirror and disliked what they see will instantly identify with him and his worries. I was especially thrilled to see a strong, positive mother-son relationship portrayed throughout, and this was especially noticeable when compared to the more antagonistic relationship between Caio and his mother who disapproves of his LGBTQ identity. Felipe’s mother is also sex-positive (she informs Felipe of where she keeps condoms in their apartment in case either of them needs one, much to his teenage horror), which makes for a refreshing read.
Felipe’s relationship with his weight is a key element to this story, but despite his negative attitude toward it, this is still portrayed in a surprisingly healthy way. Felipe has a therapist whom he visits weekly to work on his self-confidence, and we never see him acting dangerously with food such as crash dieting. Instead, Felipe shows us his love of food. He looks forward to Saturdays when his mother always bakes a cake, is excited to get some corn on the cob at the festival he attends, and happily orders a “bacon cheeseburger with extra bacon (just because)” when out with friends who don’t judge him. He is unhappy with elements of his size—sweating more, struggling to fit comfortably into cinema seats not designed for people like him—but he also appears to have a healthy attitude toward food.
Although set during the winter break, because Here the Whole Time is set in Brazil, it is filled with what us northern-hemisphere dwellers would term summer vibes making it another perfect summer read. I would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with their body image and feeling less desirable because of the way they look.
GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.