Name: Gabriela Martins
Genre: YA/contemporary with hints of magical realism
Title: Beautiful Restless Youth
Word Count: 82,000 words
Themes: LGBT representation (bisexual, demisexual, homosexual), Latinx Brazilian representaiton (the story is set in Brazil, so all characters are Brazilian), learning disability representation (dyslexia and dyscalculia).
Queer Dorian Gray retold in southern Brazil. When an explicit picture leaks onto the Internet and the entire Catholic Schools phones, those responsible must pay.
First 500 words:
“Not the face.” Dante sighed, staring up.
It wasn’t enough to convince Caetano. Before Dante could either argue or try to block it, Caetano’s fist came crushing down against Dante’s eye. Dante fell backwards, his chin tilting up. His green eyes glanced at the sky for what felt like a second frozen in time. It was such a beautiful, sunny day. What a horrible way to start his Monday.
Time didn’t stay frozen. His back hit the asphalt and, a second later, his head did too, a thud that made everyone hold their breaths for a second. A sharp pain shot through his eye, making him yell, but Caetano wasn’t done. As the crowd cheered and screamed, some streaming the fight on their Snapchat or Instagram stories, Caetano jumped on him. All Dante felt was the weight of the older boy on his stomach as his fist connected again against his jaw. He thrashed this time, struggling as his hands came up to try and punch Caetano’s stomach, but Caetano was all made of muscles.
Dante’s vision was blurry, but he didn’t think of crying. The throbbing pain along his jaw and around his eye only made him sweat harder, choking up, his pathetic attempts at defense useless.
“What is happening here?” someone shouted.
The world wanted to make up for its short time frozen, now going fast forward. Dante let his body fall back, the weight on his muscles dissolving as someone pulled Caetano from him. He blinked at the sky, breathing out in chunks as his chest heaved. The sun was bright against his brown freckled skin. It was the type of day that would make his Mom happy. He smiled absentmindedly, but his lip was split. He winced at the pain.
Trying to blink away the knots in his stomach, he realized the voices started making sense. They hushed and laughed nervously, and Caetano argued loudly with Prof Marcelo. He heard someone beg the teacher to be reasonable, probably one of Caetano’s friends, and the chatter started to grow. Nobody knelt down next to him, but he could feel all the looks and still a few discreet phone pointed his way. He kept his eyes to the sky, trying to steady his breath.
It was all going to be alright.
Prof Marcelo whistled loudly, and all conversation and argument died down.
“I don’t want to hear it,” he said firmly, his voice the equivalent of a block of ice. “You’re both going to Principal Sister Cecilia’s office, but I’m taking Dante to the infirmary first. Make way, make way!”
Everyone did. They wouldn’t seriously argue with any teacher, much less Prof Marcelo.
Dante frowned, lying on the middle of the street just outside Catholic School Saint Virgin Mary. The school, one of the most prestigious in the south of Brazil, and definitely the best in Porto Alegre, was near a train station, with a bus stop on each side of the campus, which facilitated making the entrance of the school a hangout point in the early mornings.