The story, originally written in Portuguese, takes place in Brazil follows seventeen-year-old Felipe, a fat gay kid who is relentlessly bullied at school because of his weight and has some several body image insecurities. He’s looking forward to school break — 15 days of quiet and solitude: no kids, no teasing.
So when his mother informs him that Caio, the handsome neighbor kid from apartment 57 will be staying with them while Caio’s parents are out of town, Felipe panics – not because Caio has ever teased him, because he hasn’t. Rather, Filipe is distraught because he’s had a crush on Caio for years and has no idea how he’ll manage being with the boy in close quarters for 15 days.
But as the story progresses, Felipe begins to realize that Caio staying with him might not be a much of a disaster as he’d originally thought. In the coming days, the two boys learn about each other and also learn about themselves in the process.
It was fun discovering how each of them totally changed their perception of the other once some of those self-imposed walls came down. I loved how clumsily they acted around each other in the early days.
Now it was heartbreaking to read Filipe’s insecurities about his body, his self-loathing and the anxiety he experienced. We also learn that Caio has his own issues to overcome and it was endearing to see how together, they each began the healing process as the story moved forward.
There were so many great and positive messages in this book regarding body image, sexuality and even therapy. I loved the character arcs in this story and adored seeing the natural transformation of both of our characters throughout the pages especially with Felipe, as he came to realize that this body size or size is not that which defines him. It was a delight seeing both boys emerge stronger and more confident at the end of the book.
So in this way, I loved tender conversation around body shaming and body insecurities, and the positive manner in which the author illustrates how people see what’s inside a person. The author also tackles the topic of bullying in a heartfelt way and I enjoyed seeing the bullies put in their place.
The ending was absolutely lovely and it warmed my heart to see all of Felipe’s deeply entrenched insecurities come crashing down and how both boys end up overcoming their fears and discover their inner strength.
The romance here was so sweet and tender — absolutely perfect — and each boy finding his own self-confidence added to the perfection. There were also some compelling family dynamics going on, between Felipe and his mother as well as between Caio and his mother.
All in all, this is a endearing, wholesome feel-good story with a huge, huge heart that I’m so glad I read.
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