Review: Where We Go From Here by Luca Rocha

Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha

Where We Go From Here
Lucas Rocha
Translated by Larissa Helena
Push
Published June 2, 2020

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About Where We Go From Here

Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV.

Victor, to his great relief, has tested negative.

Henrique has been living with HIV for the past three years.

When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has-had-been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid.

That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. In the process, the lives of Ian, Victor, and Henrique will become intertwined in a story of friendship, love, and stigma-a story about hitting what you think is rock bottom, but finding the courage and support to keep moving forward.

Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this utterly engrossing debut by Brazilian author Lucas Rocha calls back to Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, bringing attention to how far we’ve come with HIV, while shining a harsh light on just how far we have yet to go.

An absorbing debut novel about three gay young adults in Brazil whose lives become intertwined in the face of HIV, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Bill Konigsberg.

Where We Go From Here on Goodreads

My Review

I think it’s really hard to write an issue-driven story and have it read really authentically with facts and information presented in a natural way. This book does a pretty great job of that, though.

The premise had me intrigued already– the author wrote WHERE WE GO FROM HERE in part to address some misinformation and prejudices about HIV and AIDS. So judgments and myths do come up in the story as the characters face either their own diagnoses or their prejudices about people who’ve been diagnosed as HIV positive.

Splitting the story into three points of view, three characters all having different experiences or at different places in their experience I think really helped the conversations feel organic. It allowed people to be in different places in terms of what they knew or understood. It allowed them to be in different places in their emotional journey, too.

I think Ian might have been my favorite character, but I loved Henrique, too. Both had a vulnerability that drew me into their stories. I thought the relationships they had– in particular Henrique and Eric’s relationship– were great. I liked that each relationship was different and handled things in different ways, but all of them showed love and support.

One of the issues the story explored was about the right to privacy versus the openness that comes with intimacy. Victor is really upset that he learned about Henrique being HIV positive after having sex with him. He has to wrestle a LOT with that issue. At first he doesn’t feel that Henrique has a right to privacy at all, even if he took precautions to protect Victor. I think in particular the way the story explored that issue, showing both sides and the broad range of emotions the situation triggered, made this a deep read.

The only thing that kind of tripped me up a bit was that some of the dialogue was a little stilted and awkward, probably just from being translated. (Which has to be an incredibly challenging job!) Other than that, I enjoyed reading the book, and it really made me think.

The cover copy above says readers who enjoy Bill Konigsberg or Adam Silvera should check this book out. I agree. I think it would appeal to those readers for sure.

Where We Go From Here on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Representation
All characters are Brazilian. The three main characters are gay men. One has a roommate who is a drag queen.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two boys. References to sex and oral sex.

Spiritual Content
A couple characters examine whether they believe that being HIV+ is God’s judgment against them for being gay. They decide it isn’t.

Violent Content – Trigger warning for homophobia.
A couple characters have been cast off by their families because of who they love. There are some brief recollections of the hurtful things they’ve said. One character is outed by someone online and receives awful messages on social media and via spray paint on his building.

Drug Content
Several scenes show characters drinking alcohol. All the characters are of legal drinking age (at least 18) in Brazil.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of WHERE WE GO FROM HERE in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey Giard

I'm a mama, reader, and writer. Passionate about peppermint (it's not just for Christmas, okay?!), fly fishing, and movie night.

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