Our heroine, June, is an activist/artist, kind of like a female Banksy. She does all of these elaborate art pranks and one of these is at the very beginning, with her friend Gil, to help elect the underdog choice: a boy from the very worst parts of Palmares Tres named Enki. The prank works and the three of them end up first as glamorous poster children for the opulent party scene, and then as icons of rebellion. As the year goes on, the three of them become incredibly close: Gil and Enki become lovers and June starts to fall for him too, all the while, his fate hangs over the three of them like the sword of Damocles.
I think I loved this book just as much the second time. I loved the way Brazilian culture and the Portuguese language are woven into the story. I liked the heroine's passion for art, and how it ends up taking a more political bent as she sees more of the injustice that's inherent in the system that she's been blind to because of her privilege. I liked how there wasn't really a lot of slut-shaming, and how all of the characters in this book felt like real people making real decisions in this fantastic backdrop. It takes a while to get into, but I think the heroine sells the world-building, and her melancholy and wistfulness end up making this a pretty devastating read, especially as the story winds to the end.
I was a bit torn on whether to give this a four or a five. It's not a perfect book, but it's still a very, very good one, so I've decided to round up because I've never read anything like it before and I still love it.
4.5 out of 5 stars