The New David Espinoza
The New David Espinoza

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Annotation: This own voices story from the acclaimed author of The Closest I've Come unflinchingly examines steroid abuse and male b... more
Catalog Number: #211036
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 336
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-248988-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-01724-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-248988-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-01724-5
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Seventeen-year-old David Espinoza is sick and tired of being too skinny. After getting caught on video on the last day of school as a bully lays him out cold with a slap across the face, David begins to withdraw, deciding to devote himself to bulking up before the start of the next school year. He finds a gym close to home, run by a well-known young bodybuilder, but after a few workouts and not enough gains, he comes to the realization that all the YouTube bodybuilders he's been following might well have bulked up with some extra help: steroids. David's journey to an ideal body is fraught with pitfalls as he alienates his girlfriend and his family, develops muscle dysmorphia, and witnesses some truly horrific side effects of steroid use among his new friends. Aceves (The Closest I've Come, 2017) sometimes focuses more on the problem of steroids than David as a character, but the book still stands out through its examination of toxic masculinity, body image, and the dangers of pursuing perfection.
Publishers Weekly
In this engrossing story about the harsh realities of teen steroid use, 17-year-old David Espinoza, who recently lost his mother to cancer, lives near Orlando with his authoritative Mexican father and his little sister. Six feet tall and skinny, David is frequently ridiculed, particularly by a fellow student who slaps him in the locker room and posts the unflattering video to YouTube, where it goes viral. Humiliated and determined to bulk up, David joins a local gym, where he is quickly introduced to -gear--steroids that have created nearly superhuman muscles in other gym-goers. David, desperate to change his body by the end of summer, is receiving regular injections, avoiding his concerned friends and girlfriend, and lashing out at his father. The shame David feels about his body and self-image, despite a caring father and supportive girlfriend, is masterfully conveyed through frenetic fluctuations between self-doubt
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 Up Muscle dysmorphia is a little-discussed type of body dysmorphia that strikes mostly men and boys who try to become as buff as possible. It grips David Espinoza, a self-described "stick figure," who commits to a summer of intense bodybuilding after bully Ricky sucker punches him, posts the video, and kids start calling David "Bitchslap." At the gym, a muscle man named Alpha, who's competing to win the Mr. Florida title, speeds his transformation with steroids, and soon his young admirer is hooked as well. The first thing to go is David's social life. Formerly a good kid who didn't need to be told what to do, he sacrifices family and friendships and begins to lie. Graphic descriptions of shooting up will sober any reader who romanticizes extreme weight training, as will the other symptoms of David's addiction: obsessing over an all-protein diet, checking the size of his biceps with a tape measure, and losing his temper unexpectedly. His drug use tests the love of his little sister and his father, a Mexican immigrant who must bear witness as David cuts family ties to move in with Alpha. It also masks the warning signs of his idol's downfall, whose inevitable fate provides the impetus for David's turnaround. VERDICT A much-needed novel about steroid addiction from the point of view of a high school boy who's the victim of bullying. Georgia Christgau, LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (12/1/19)
ALA Booklist (12/1/19)
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 9-12

This own voices story from the acclaimed author of The Closest I've Come unflinchingly examines steroid abuse and male body dysmorphia. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Matt De La Peña. David Espinoza is tired of being messed with. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully's slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up-- do what it takes to become a man--and wow everyone when school starts again the fall. Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that's full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As it says on the Iron Life wall, What does not kill me makes me stronger. As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he'll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything.


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