Cover image for The new David Espinoza
Title:
The new David Espinoza
ISBN:
9780062489883
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
323 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
What does not kill me makes me stronger. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully goes viral at the end of junior year, David Espinoza vows to use the summer to bulk up, become a man, and wow everyone when school starts again the fall. Spending his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that is full of bodybuilders, David becomes frustrated with his slow progress. As his life begins to revolve about his muscle gains, he falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world. Pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he will eventually have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything. --
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Summary

Summary

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.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal 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


Publisher's Weekly Review

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 and self-admiration. Through an authentically told story that is both gripping and gut-wrenching, Aceves (The Closest I've Come) clearly shows the risks, side effects, and consequences of David's physical and mental battle. An author's note details the author's own experience with steroids as a teen. Ages 14--up. (Feb.)


Kirkus Review

An intense look at male body dysmorphia from the author of The Closest I've Come (2017).David Espinoza has always been tormented for his skinny physique, but when the high school bully slaps him in the locker room and catches it on camera, the video becomes a viral meme in his Florida town. The Mexican American teen decides to join a gym and build enough muscle over the summer to lay to rest the incessant teasing. There, he meets bodybuilders who influence him to take steroids in order to speed up the results. With graphic detail, Aceves presents the psychological, physical, and emotional effects of muscle dysmorphia. David's relationships fall apartwith his family, friends, girlfriendand the author, who also experienced this disorder in his youth, authentically delineates the ramifications of this illness, which is more prevalent than many believe. After a shocking climax, David finally comes to grips with his addiction, perhaps a little too quickly, but readers won't mind the not-so-pat resolution. Frank discussions about the sexual lives and drug use of adolescents add authenticity to the story, and the expletive-laden prose makes this more appropriate for older teens. Toxic masculinity, which is cringingly part and parcel of the testosterone-filled world that Aceves portrays, is threaded through the narrative in a contextualized way. David's friends are mostly Latinxhe has a Puerto Rican girlfriend and a Dominican best friendSearing and thoughtful. (author's note, resources) (Realistic fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

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.--Rob Bittner Copyright 2019 Booklist