“The New David Espinoza” is an own voice story by Fred Aceves that is perfect for the ever evolving publicizing of our daily lives and tackles a rarely discussed but important topic, male body dysmorphia. When David is pushed to the brink by a school bully he decides to change not only his physical but mental make up over the summer vacation between his junior and senior year. As he embraces the mantra “what does not kill me makes me stronger” we truly get a glimpse into young adult male psyche and the battles taking place within the confines of a budding adolescents mind. After joining his local gym, Iron Life, he becomes increasingly frustrated with how much work it and time it takes to actually produce not jut the results he was hoping for but any at all. This story takes a turn in to the darker side of bodybuilding and obsession when David begins spending all of time and money at the gym. Banned substances, short cuts and detrimental decisions lead David down a road he had no intention of taking when he got up off that floor for the last time after being slapped down by his bully in the viral video that put this story in motion. We learn that sometimes even the most innocent and well intended decisions in life can become disastrous when carelessness, greed and misinformation are involved. Do you remember what it was life being a teenager? Are there any decisions you wish you could change or take back? how about now, ever get so sick and tired of something that you’re truly ready to risk it all? If so, this book is for you. While this may not have been my favorite book, I can not express its importance enough, opening up the dialogue on male body dysmorphia and the impacts it has on those who suffer from it.
CRITICS HAVE SAID:
“A much-needed novel about steroid addiction from the point of view of a high school boy who’s the victim of bullying.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Stands out through its examination of toxic masculinity, body image, and the dangers of pursuing perfection.” (Booklist)
“Searing and thoughtful.” (Kirkus Reviews)