Aceves, Fred. New David Espinoza, The. Fiction. HarperTeen, 02/2020. 336pp. $17.99. 978-0-06-248988-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 9-ADULT.
David has gotten used to being shoved around and bullied at school, which he attributes to being extremely skinny. But when a video of him getting slapped goes viral at the end of his junior year of high school, he decides to spend the summer bulking up to prevent anyone from messing with him again. The guys at his gym quickly tell him that the only way to get the muscles he wants is to train hard…and use steroids. As David’s gains increase, his relationships with his family, girlfriend, and friends disintegrate. At times the action can feel rushed, but the story is gripping from beginning to end, and every character feels fully fleshed out and realistic. Candid descriptions of teenage sexuality and drug use contribute to the realism of the story. David and his family are Mexican American, and his girlfriend is Puerto Rican. Readers looking for a nuanced tale of toxic masculinity and body dysmorphia will be excited by this book.
Eny Calvert, Fremont Public Library