Last month I reviewed the first of our co-winners for the GLLI Translated YA Book Prize. This month we turn to the second winner of the prize, Here the Whole Time. Written by Vitor Martins, this book gives us another look into the lives of LGBTQ young people in Brazil. Also translated by Larissa Helena, Here the Whole Time is a funny and tenderly honest book about first love, acceptance, and finding one’s people.
Felipe has been anxiously awaiting the start of winter break. Not only will he get to sleep in and binge Netflix, he will also finally be away from the classmates who tease him relentlessly because of his weight. Felipe is fat, as he says in the first line of the book. He is often the recipient of ugly looks and uncreative yet hurtful nicknames. It has taken a toll over the past two and a half years of high school, and winter break promises to be a respite from the negative attention.
Felipe’s plans for his long-awaited vacation are thwarted, however, by the news that his neighbor Caio will be staying with him and his mom for fifteen whole days. Caio is Felipe’s childhood playmate, and the boy he has had a crush on since he was thirteen. The thought of spending over two weeks in close quarters with the handsome and fit Caio unsettles Felipe, to put it mildly. But there is no way out of it.
What develops over the course of the next fifteen days is a tentative friendship that blossoms into first love, bolstered by conversations and a shared love of Tolkien. Felipe’s mother—warm, gregarious, and open minded— and Caio’s best friend Becky—confident, outspoken, and secure in her own fat body—also smooth the way, modeling acceptance, vulnerability, and honesty.
Here the Whole Time is most appropriate for readers ages 14 and above. As befitting a novel about first love, there is kissing, but nothing graphic or gratuitous. Felipe also drinks alcohol for the first time during the course of the novel; the resulting hangover, however, and the serious conversation with his mother the morning after show young readers that indulging before one is an adult has consequences.
Adults, especially parents of teenagers, can learn a lot from Felipe’s mother. She loves and accepts her son for who he is. She listens to him, and values his opinions and feelings. She is patient and non-judgmental, but also does not suffer fools (see the reference above to Felipe’s first hangover). In an age where some parents gin up controversy over the very existence of LGTBQ content in literature for young people, it is important to have models of a different way to be in the world.
Title: Here the Whole Time
Written by Vitor Martins
Translated from Portuguese by Larissa Helena
PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., 2020
Awards: Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Translated Young Adult Book Prize co-winner, 2021.
You can purchase this book here.*
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Klem-Marí Cajigas has been with Nashville Public Library since 2012, after more than a decade of academic training in Religious Studies and Ministry. As the Family Literacy Coordinator for Bringing Books to Life!, Nashville Public Library’s award-winning early literacy outreach program, she delivers family literacy workshops to a diverse range of local communities. In recognition of her work, she was named a 2021 Library Journal “Mover and Shaker.” Born in Puerto Rico, Klem-Marí is bilingual, bicultural, and proudly Boricua.