REVIEW: Here The Whole Time by Vitor Martins

The Official Description: The charm and humor of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Dumplin’ in this body-positive YA love story between two boys who must spend 15 days living with each other over school break.

What would you do if you had to spend the next 15 days with your lifelong crush?

Felipe gets it — he’s fat. Not chubby. Not big-boned. Fat. And he doesn’t need anyone to remind him, which is, of course, what everyone does. That’s why he’s been waiting for this moment ever since the school year began: school break. Finally, he’ll be able to spend some time far away from school and the classmates who tease him incessantly. His plans include catching up on his favorite TV shows, finishing his to-be-read pile, and watching YouTube tutorials on skills he’ll never actually put into practice.

But things get a little out of hand when Felipe’s mom informs him that Caio, the neighbor kid from apartment 57, will be spending the next 15 days with them while his parents are on vacation. Felipe is distraught because A) he’s had a crush on Caio since, well, forever, and B) Felipe has a list of body image insecurities and absolutely NO idea how he’s going to entertain his neighbor for two full weeks.

Suddenly, the days ahead of him that once promised rest and relaxation (not to mention some epic Netflix bingeing) end up bringing a whirlwind of feelings, forcing Felipe to dive head-first into every unresolved issue he has had with himself — but maybe, just maybe, he’ll manage to win over Caio, too.

Just the facts: YA, LGBTQIA, Diverse, Body positive!

Sweet, emotional, sad and so, so authentic. This book smashed my heart and then put it back together again.  – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: I was a fat queer kid and I wish that this book had been around when I was a teen! There is so much in this book that I can relate to but the one thing that stood out was watching the other kids …. in the pool.

Let me back up a bit. “Here The Whole Time” is about Felipe. He’s about to begin a holiday from school… where he’s bullied and name-called… and his mother surprises him by announcing one morning that their neighbor, Caio is going to be sharing his room for a few weeks.

This wouldn’t be a problem except that Felipe has had a crush on Caio for ages…and now he’s going to be sharing a room with him. Things start off with a bang when Felipe emerges from the bathroom in a towel that only partially covers him and finds Caio waiting on his bed. He yells at him to get out… and thus begins their time staying together.

I was absolutely touched by Felipe. As the main character, he is authentic, well-written, and loveable. I didn’t feel sorry for him – I felt empathy for him and I think that’s really important. Beneath his insecurity and shyness, he’s a really loveable, funny, and quirky person. Sometimes though, the way we feel about ourselves… those insecurities about our appearance can lead us to hide from the people who want to know us.

There is a great cast of supporting characters as well. Felipe’s mother is a lovely creation! She’s supportive and funny and quite original in her own way. Caio’s arrival brings along his friends as well… a diverse set of queer characters that are enchanting and educational at the same time (and no, it’s not preachy at all). There’s even a remarkable list of Queer people who have had a role in our history!

This book is in large part about growing up and becoming the person we are meant to be. Along the way, our friendships evolve and change, and we aren’t always able to see why that is happening. And what if our insecurities don’t allow us to really connect with people? Felipe has some challenges, yes, but this story is about the journey to accepting yourself and allowing people in.

I would gladly add this book to any YA collection… and it’s certainly a healing balm for people like me who were fat kids! (I’m still a fat kid at heart!)

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) bullying, body shaming, anxiety, extreme shyness, homophobic parents.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Here The Whole Time by Vitor Martins from Scholastic Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an unbiased review.

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