If one manages to finish a novel in a day, it has to be breezily engaging – like ‘Here The Whole Time’ by Vitor Martins. It’s a sweet romantic story that strongly espouses the idea of ‘love yourself for who you are’.
The protagonist is 17-year-old Felipe, who is gay, but with a loving accepting mom, that’s not a problem at all. However, he is excessively shy, prone to anxiety, has low self-esteem, is bullied at school and is seeing a therapist. A lot of these problems are rooted in the fact that Felipe is constantly fat-shamed by peers at school. So when he finds out his hot neighbour/childhood crush Caio is going to be staying at his house for 15 days, there are new fears & challenges to face.
While the novel is set in Brazil, most of the story unfolds in Felipe’s flat, and the descriptions are quite limited, which works for me, but for readers who prefer expansive details of the ambiance, they will have to heavily rely on their own imagination. I loved the subtle emphasis on mental health and how Felipe’s mother encourages him to see a therapist, explaining that nothing has to be “wrong” with someone to seek out a mental-health professional. He shares a health, loving relationship with his mother and things with Caio move at a reasonable pace too.
Vitor Martin’s novel is easy to read, with linear story-telling that’s sprinkled with simple relatable moments. The author captures the exhilaration & confusion of first love charmingly, with just a tinge of drama. The Half my day went by in a blink! Can see it being turned into a cute feel-good limited TV series.