cover image Where We Go from Here

Where We Go from Here

Lucas Rocha, trans. from the Portuguese by by Larissa Helena. Push, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-55624-7

According to an author’s note, Rocha was inspired to write this novel upon learning about the prejudice faced by HIV-positive people in Brazil; the result, his YA debut, features three young men, each with a different relationship to HIV. Henrique, 21, is HIV-positive but has an undetectable viral load due to medication, and is looking for a relationship with someone with whom he can be honest about his status. He’d like it to be Victor, a college student, but Victor, who has just tested negative, is angry that Henrique didn’t reveal his status before sex, even though they used protection. When Victor meets 18-year-old Ian, who’s just tested positive, he introduces Ian to Henrique for support. The three alternate the narration, and readers see Henrique’s anger and loneliness, Victor’s guilt about breaking up with Henrique, and Ian’s efforts to cope with his diagnosis and meds (there are also glimpses of Brazil’s free testing and treatment culture), all building to Ian and Henrique’s growing friendship. Though characters feel differentiated more by externals (Victor’s blue hair, Henrique’s drag queen roommate) than by internals, the book effectively explores the tensions that stem from the prejudice and fear surrounding HIV. Ages 14–up. (June)