Here the Whole Time is an absolutely lovely coming-of-age story that I know will stay with me for years to come.
Felipe can’t wait for winter break: Finally, he’ll get some time away from the classmates who tease him incessantly about his weight.
But Felipe’s plan turns upside down when he learns that Caio, his neighbor from apartment 57, will be staying with him for fifteen days. Which is a problem because (a) Felipe has 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 handle them while sharing a room with his lifelong crush.
Suddenly, the days that once promised rest and relaxation (not to mention some epic Netflix bingeing) are a gauntlet of every unresolved issue in Felipe’s life. But if he can overcome his insecurities, then maybe—just maybe—this break won’t turn out to be such a disaster after all . . .
What an absolutely lovely and moving story. I want to hold Felipe and Caio close and never let them go. Felipe was so soft and kind and deeply relatable. Watching him grow even the littlest bit more comfortable in his skin by the end was the greatest joy, watching him learn to love himself even the slightest bit more was a gift.
Martins balances the heartbreaking relatability of Felipe’s insecurities, of his experience as a fat, gay teen, with absolutely hilarious and delightful moments of humor and kindness. Felipe is so earnest but he’s also dry and so witty. My friend, Mariah, recommended this one to me for the 12 in 12 challenge and wow, does she know me. I adored this story, the writing, the characters. My only complaint is that I wish we’d gotten to see more of them, had gotten to see more of their interactions once they got together.
Some favorite moments and quotes from this story:
- “If my life were a musical, now would be the moment when I’d cross the school gates, singing a song about freedom, and people in the streets would dance in a tightly synchronized choreography behind me. But my life is not a musical, and when I walk through the gate, I hear someone yell, ‘Butterbaaaall!'”
- “‘Oh, and about the brigadeiro. I’m interested,’ I say, thinking about the perfect mix of condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter, then regret it almost immediately. Because I hate talking about food. Because when you’re fat and you talk about food, people always think, There goes fatty, talking about food! But Caio doesn’t seem to even think about that.”
- “It’s done. The word is out. The same way things changed when Caio said, ‘I’m gay,’ things change when I say, ‘I’m fat.’ Because fat is the kind of word people try to hide, no matter the cost. Everyone says ‘chubby’ or ‘big boned,’ but never ‘FAT.’ Fat is a word you can never take back. When you declare something, even if it’s obvious to everyone already, it becomes real.”
- “‘Caio is a a Cancer, and you need all the patience in the world to put up with a Cancer. They’re half princess and half evil witch, if you know what I mean.'”
- “‘When I was eight, my aunts were already insisting I should go on a diet,’ Becky says. ‘When you’re a girl, being fat is never cute. When you’re a girl, you must always be skinny.'”
I could keep listing scenes and quotes and moments but honestly, just go read this for yourself. It’s absolutely worth it, a quick read, and so touching.
Read This If
- You enjoy coming-of-age stories
- You’re looking for a sweet, relatively fast read
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½ / 5
Where to Purchase
- Buy Here the Whole Time on Bookshop.org
- Buy Here the Whole Time on Amazon (kindle)
- Buy Here the Whole Time on Amazon (hardcover)
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