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Every Body Looking

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,784 ratings  ·  334 reviews
"Ada” means first daughter, means oldest girl, means pressure. “Ada” means you are expected to do a lot of things because the honor of this family rests on your back.

When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family—and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to see
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published September 22nd 2020 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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allison the main character is questioning. *spoiler* she realizes she may have feelings for a friend near the end. we never really get an answer on her sexual…morethe main character is questioning. *spoiler* she realizes she may have feelings for a friend near the end. we never really get an answer on her sexuality. (less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,784 ratings  ·  334 reviews

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Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, queer
Ever since The Black Flamingo and Blood Water Paint I'm a sucker for verse novels which is why I'm super hyped for this book ...more
Melanie (mells_view)
that I’m too loud
too much
too free

Every Body Looking is sort of a coming of age and coming into yourself while also trying to live up to family expectations and cultural expectations. I have actually never read a story like this written in verse, and while it took me a minute to really catch on to the flow or maybe even the freeness of verse, I eventually fell in love. Ada is the daughter of an immigrant father and an African-American mother. Her mother suffers from addiction and her father has p
Printz Honor 2021

2.5 stars

3hrs on audio. I don't really get the awards. The poetry itself is nothing special. The story is only half compelling and half finished, with some very strong threads, but with huge portions simply boring, which is a travesty, considering how short this is.
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm beginning to truly love books written in verse. ...more
Oh, this book! Candice Iloh is a remarkably talented, powerful, and beautiful writer. I’m picky about novels in verse and I’ve never listened to one in audiobook format before but this book. Oh! Easily a book that truly needed to be told in this format. I think there may be a few caveats to the format and a couple of small things I would’ve liked more of in the book but the verse format works so astoundingly well here and how beautifully it nails coming of age and dance and all that dance is and ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Every Body Looking is a hard-hitting coming of age story told in verse that creeps up on you and kind of rips your heart out. Please use caution and check trigger/content warnings if needed because this was much more intense than I had anticipated, but I think this will strike a chord with a lot of people. Note that this review does contain "spoilers" due to discussing abuse and sexuality in the book. If you're sensitive to spoilers, be aware.

Ada is the daughter of a Nige
Allie (alliewithbooks)
TW: sexual assault

I really enjoyed this novel in verse. It was a very emotional read, and definitely something that will weigh heavily on me. I saw parts of myself in this novel, and they were difficult parts to confront but it was also refreshing to see it talked about in a book.

I think my only critique is that I wish it was longer. I love novels in verse, and typically I feel like I’ve gotten a complete and well-rounded story like with Long Way Down or The Poet X. But with this book it felt li
3 stars

This is a book that I wish had been longer. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with these characters and this story, but because it was so short, I found that a lot of it felt very one-dimensional to me and it ended up leaving a lot of things unexplored when I think there was a lot of potential there. I thought the writing style was really pretty and I really enjoyed the way this book juggled the two timelines that the central parts of the story take place in, but I still wanted mor
This was a (very) short book, but still very good and extremely insightful. It's written in verse - I listened to the audiobook and haven't seen it in print so I can't say much about the written flow. The audiobook however read a lot like prose. It follows Ada, a first-gen daughter of a Nigerian immigrant father and an African American mother.

Ada's life is far from perfect. Her father is strict and religious and doesn't understand her. Her relationship with her mom, who struggles with addiction,
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this via goodreads giveaways, all my opinions are my own.

I wanted more from the ending (compliment) and to see to where Ada would go next:).

This was a wonderful experience, this book helped make a bad week and day just a little bit better <3

Would recommend 👌.
Toya (the reading chemist)
I’m really torn with this one because I typically love novels written in verse, but this one felt more like a novella that wasn’t quite complete. More thoughts to come.
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Every Body Looking follows Ada as she’s growing up as a young Black woman in the US. The narrative covers some serious topics like divorce, being a child of immigrants, and childhood sexual assault. The importance of dance and how that art form impacts Ada is another major part of the plot. The story goes back and forth between bits and pieces of Ada’s life as a child and her first year at college.

The book is written in verse and in this instance I think that slightly hindered my enjoyment. I f
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel in verse is going to resonate with Black girls and women - especially Black African first or second generation immigrants. It’s the way that Candice unpacks the dislocation and feelings of otherness that come with being in spaces where you don’t quite fit. It’s the way she

One thing that is touched on in this book that I was glad she included is how even is ‘Black’ spaces...being tangibly African can make you ‘other’. The fact that even the African American girls in school with Ada wo
Well, that was underwhelming. I couldn't connect to the mc and the entire writing just seemed lazy to me. ...more
Kira Thebookbella
"when you start growing further away from what used to be home you go looking for somewhere that lets you be what’s inside your head"

TW: rape, fatphobic comment,

This is a coming of age story about young Ada, who is getting ready to go to college. This story is told entirely in verse. The story oscillates between her personal development and self discovery during her first semester in college, and the events that defined her throughout her childhood. We see her as a new adult and as a child
Misse Jones
I’m thinking this is what it’s like when you’re too far above everything for regular life to matter // that old life in Chicago where I was my old me // everyone telling me about this new person I’ll be while begging me not to change at the fame time // new city new people but always new in Christ // youth pastor always teaching how God transforms us by washing us clean // I’m wondering about this new feeling god might give me fat from hands once laid on me. — From “The Summer Before College”

charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
i don't love books in verse, so this 3 stars as probably equivalent to 5 from someone who does

Rep: Nigerian American wlw mc, Nigerian side characters, Black side characters

CWs: rape, emotional abuse
Traci at The Stacks
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I couldn’t really get into this book. There were parts I liked and other stuff I missed. The humor was subtle and appreciated.
Brandie Shanae Bridges
This book brought me to tears because the main character Ada reminded me of myself when I was growing up. Not wanting attention from anyone or anything. But most importantly she reminded me of myself because I’m high school and even in college I didn’t know who I was or who I was going to be. To be completely honest I went to college to make my parents happy regardless if I was happy or not. Ada is a young woman who is trying to find herself and while in the process of finding herself she makes ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I read a novel in verse, and I enjoyed Every Body Looking! It was the perfect format for this story, and I loved reading about Ada's journey. I really struggled with college, and this book was so relatable. It was stressful to read at times, but in a good way. It's well-written, and Ada feels like such a realistic character. There are some heavy topics in here, and everything is handled well. The ending was a bit abrupt, and I thought it was going to continue, but it wasn ...more
rating: ✫✫✫⋆ (3.5 stars)
random notes before we get started...
stands in the category of books i picked up for their cover.
i could have given it a higher rating, but i know this story won't stick with me and i'm going to drop this rating at some point, so i think 3.5 is a nice average.
I- the punctuation
i found this book a little hard to navigate through, mainly because of its writing – it's written in verse and without any sort of punctuation, which makes it a little
Kate Olson
Printz Honor 2021. I’m so conflicted on how to write any kind of review because the reading experience gave me such a visceral bleak and ugly feeling that I want to scream that no one should ever read this and what the hell, why wasn’t there a content warning about the childhood sexual trauma in the jacket copy???? There is a reference to that here in Goodreads, but not on the jacket, which is what I read before jumping into it.

And then I go to thinking that maybe this book just 100% wasn’t for
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
I can't remember the last time I read a book in verse/poetic style and wasn't sure how it would resonate for me as I typically find poetry hard to review. However, when you have 416 pages of a lyrically beautiful story, it felt like listening to the most beautiful song that told you a very important story. I found myself fascinated and read it in its entirety without ever getting up from my couch.

Ada's story is told in nonlinear style as we see her growing up under the weight of enormous expecta
Samantha (WLABB)
Ada grew up with many rules and expectations, but now, on her own at college, she is finally starting to analyze and overcome her past as she figures out who she is and who she wants to be. This was not an easy journey to witness, as much of Ada's past was quite painful. But the pain turned to hope, as she found people who encourage her and she can finally be the person she wants to be.

Chidimma Desiree
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O, how I love reading books written in verse. This book felt like I was reading a part of someone’s soul, it felt so real and touching. The author really wrote a main character, Ada, that seemed vulnerable and truly was finding her place in the world. Seeing her growth and her finally being able to speak up to her dad was just heartwarming. We need more Nigerian American main characters please!!!!! I loved the way I automatically connected to Ada based off that we had so many things in common on ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-author
3.5 stars
It doesn't lose anything by being referred to as "heavily autobiographical" but I'd rather have memoir than something that needs to be shelved in fiction because this is phenomenal. The non-linear timeline that flashes back to pivotal moments in her life and then her moving across the country to attend college is PERFECT set off with the black pages to show the movement. And did I mention it's also in verse? Yes! This is just the right voice to tell her story her way.

Ada is a first generation N
Annika (whatannikareads)
this is such a love letter to those who find themselves through dance and may not have been able to tap into that side of their passion due to parental and societal expectations. i really appreciated this as first-gen as well. it's really a talent that candice was able to encapsulate the memorable moments of our youth that shape who we are. it also really captures the adapting to new life as a college freshmen. i can only imagine that it'd be so impactful if read by a black girl as well, especia ...more
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the writing style was absolutely beautiful, i truly felt like i could hear ada's thoughts. i don't read a lot of books written in verse, but when i do, i usually love them (the black flamingo, clap when you land etc.).

i really enjoyed that part of this book took place in college. i know books in high school are important for younger readers, but please, we need more books set in university!

however, the ending left me wishing for more. there were a lot of indications, but relationships weren't e
ARC Netgalley (Listened to audio)

This book is told in verses.
And after listening/reading this book, I've realized that I don't really enjoy this format.

Maybe because I need dialogues, banters, story-telling in the books that I read/listen to truly connect to the characters. So, the format itself did not work for me.

Second, this is a coming-of-age book. I felt for our main character. Her story was touching yet might be relatable to every person's teenage years. Maybe it's the troubled relationsh
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Candice Iloh is a first generation Nigerian-American writer, teaching artist, and youth educator. She is a graduate of Howard University and holds an MFA in writing from Lesley University. Her work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary and VONA among many others. Her debut novel, Every Body Looking, was a finalist for the National Book Award.

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