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The New David Espinoza

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  95 reviews
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—
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by HarperTeen
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Rebecca David has a girlfriend, and the book mentions that they had sex in the past, and David discusses topics related to sex with his friend Alpha. There is…moreDavid has a girlfriend, and the book mentions that they had sex in the past, and David discusses topics related to sex with his friend Alpha. There is a scene where David and Karina (his girlfriend) are making out and David wants to have sex, but it never goes any further than that. None of the kissing and making out in the book is described in detail, only that it is happening. I'd say this is a very chaste book as young adult novels go.(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
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Lea (drumsofautumn)
FRIENDS! This is a book about steroid abuse and male body dysmorphia!!!!!! Can we please make sure to support and hype the shit out of this????
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Steroids and body dysmorphia isn't an oft told tale. This was an OK book that read a little bit like an after-school special. ...more
Mayar El Mahdy
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was ok

I liked the cover and the synopsis so much. It's like a scarring get-fit montage played with an evil "Eye of The Tiger" in the background.

The topic of male body image is rarely tackled, but it wasn't very well-done here. I feel as if the author told us rather than showing the problem and letting us connect the dots.
Leigh Collazo
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
More reviews like this one at MrsReaderPants.

Several years ago, I read Gym Candy by Carl Deuker. A book with a football player in full gear on the cover, Gym Candy was certainly not the kind of YA book I normally gravitate toward. I read it simply because it was on the Texas LoneStar Reading List that year.

Surprisingly, I loved Gym Candy, a gritty look at a high school football player who falls into steroid drug use. The New David Espinoza reminds me of Gym Candy. I enjoyed David Espinoza's stor
Sylvs (NOVELty Reads)
TRIGGER WARNING: Steroid Abuse, Body Dysmorphia, Muscle Dysmorphia, Body Image Issues

This book is anything but light.

I honestly have no words to describe The New David Espinoza. It is such a heavy book that explicitly focuses on muscle dysmorphia and toxic masculinity. It is an important book and I think that everyone should read it considering its narrative voice and how it clearly shows the obsessive and often destructive nature of body negativity.

David Espinoza is someone you would consider t
Luke Reynolds
Unfortunately, I didn't like the writing for this one. David came across as whiny and younger than his age. ...more
2 stars

I wanted to like this one so badly but I just… absolutely could not stand the main character. He was so insufferable for most of the story and so rude to literally everyone around him that I was just,,, confused as to how I was supposed to emphasize with him?? Or feel bad for him in any way?? Or, idk, care about what happened to him?? And like, I get that it might have been an intentional choice on the author’s part, but I just...was not impressed with it, either way. I appreciated the en
Meagan Houle
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story of male body dismorphia, a topic so rarely explored, is an important one. We need to talk more openly about steroid abuse, toxic masculinity, and the unrealistic and harmful ideals young men--boys, in most cases--erase themselves to embody. But more than that, this story is big-hearted and brave in a way I admire. David can't help but endear himself to the reader, even when he's making terrible decisions and hurting those he loves most. Who among us can say we've never made similarly ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
#gifted Thank you @harperya360 for sending me this ARC for an honest review in return.

The New David Espinoza. I really, really wanted to love this book as it’s about male body dysmorphia and steroid abuse, but unfortunately it fell flat for me *face palm*.
This book covers a really important topic which has been rarely touched and I want people to read it and support it! Just because in the end it wasn’t my favourite book of all time doesn’t mean I want others to be put off by it! Please do pick
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
I appreciated this book, and I think it could prove very helpful to teens and young men who are struggling with body dysmorphia or related problems. That being said, it read more like a cautionary tale than a novel at times. I would have loved to see some of the secondary characters fleshed out a little more, and a little more time spent on the resolution. While the MC felt authentic to me, his decision making felt very abrupt. Overall a solid contemporary novel with a strong message.
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up on a whim. Full disclosure: it's probably a 3.5, but I felt like it dealt with an important topic, and it was a quick read, so I rounded up to a 4.

David Espinoza is tired of being bullied. He's been picked on for being the skinniest guy for as long as he can remember, but it finally reaches a tipping point when Ricky, the resident jerk in school, has someone video tape him hitting David in the locker room. In a matter of 24 hours, David has gone from under the radar loser,
Feb 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: ritba, young-adult
Bullying and toxic masculinity in teen boys result in body/muscle dysmorphia and steroid use in this difficult novel. After a bullying incident and brutal end of year humiliation, David decides he will gain enough muscle mass over the summer before his senior year that nobody will mess with him anymore. He quickly turns to steroids to make faster gains and his life begins to unravel. The novel centers around his workouts, gains, and, most importantly, his mental state. David's decisions and acti ...more
Mary Thomas
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intense and unflinching look at muscle dysmorphia and steroid abuse in teenage boys. This is a really important book - I'm glad it exists and happy to have a copy in my HS collection. I felt so much for David and thought his characterization and impulsive decision making (that seemed logical to him) was really well done. ...more
Amy Formanski Duffy
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A rate look at a teen guy's struggle with muscle dysmorphia. After a video of David getting slapped by a bully goes viral on YouTube, David becomes obsessed with working out and gaining muscle. It affects his relationships with his family, friends, and girlfriend. David thinks and speaks like a real teen bro, which saves this from feeling like a preachy 80s After School special. The author experienced similar stuff as a teen, so it feels authentic. Worth its weight in teen novels. (Sorry I had t ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everyone read this book! Boys/Men struggle with body image problems too and it's important to acknowledge them! And this book is a good way to start and to become aware of this problem. ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a real eye opener. I never really considered that boys have similiar body image issues as girls. Thank you Fred Aceves for bringing your personal experience into David's character who I found to be very real. ...more
mia :)
This was so good and so so important.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
While not the most subtle book ever written, The New David Espinoza confronts the realities of male body dysmorphia/steroid use and does so in an affecting way. The complex relationship between David and his well-meaning but misguided mentor Alpha is especially moving.
Dani (Paperback Wishes)
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Looking in the mirror, my first thought is that I hate my pathetic body. That’s okay, I remind myself. I’m finally doing something about it.”

4/5 stars!

I have always been aware that men experience as many body issues as women and I think I’ve only grown more and more aware with the rising popularity of superhero movies. Especially after reading about the kind of extreme conditions actors have themselves through in order to avoid judgement from audiences. However, this book really forced myse
Garret Dorn
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I give the book a 5 star rating as it is a part of a genre I enjoy. The book by Fred Aceves was relatable in some aspects as body image is one of the main things teens struggle with. It also talked about bullying as the main character who wasn’t a large person was always bullied for his size which made him an easy target. Another interesting part of the book was when David finally realized that family was the ones supporting him the whole time when he didn’t even notice.
Body image is one of the
Jeffrey G
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a good book. I really enjoyed reading it. I didn't want to put it down.

The story itself is simple, straightforward, black-and-white, worthy of a cringy afterschool special. Every plot point is predictable as hell. What makes this fascinating are the smaller details and the sensitive treatment of the mc's thoughts and feelings. The mc goes on a very dark journey but the author really lets you inside that trip. You get to hear all the thoughts and feelings that come along the way, includin
No rating because it doesn't feel right to give this anything less than it deserves—but how am I supposed to know how to rate it?

Listen. This is an important book. But some things held me back from loving it. One of the main things is that the paragraphs are so short that the prose seems choppy and awkward at times. Emotion is crammed into these little sentences that make the writing feel off.
My goal has been totally crushed. I don't know whether to scream, punch, kick, or just die. I can't even
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
THE NEW DAVID ESPINOZA by Fred Aceves | Grade: B | Minor spoilers ahead.

This was such a unique novel and once I read the description, it quickly shot up to the top of my Want-To-Read list. And I certainly do not regret reading. This book centers around a rising high school senior’s quest to muscle-up after an embarrassing and exposing video goes viral. And while it at first seems rather superficial and a little irritating at times, by the end, the novel is delicately able to tap into an importan
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
On the last day of junior year, David, a scrawny Mexican-American guy, is slapped by The Bully, and it goes viral. Resolved to never be so unmasculine again, David gets a gym membership and starts eating to feed his muscles. At the gym, he meets Alpha, a pro body builder. But when David's gains aren't enough to make him pack on his desired muscles before the new school year, he turns to Alpha for steroids. David promises himself he's going to only use one cycle of steroids, but he soon falls dow ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ownvoices, audio, ya, audio-meh
so the main character is whiny, snarky, and so repetitive. i know that this guy isn't supposed to be a great intellectual but the writing isn't compelling. i suppose it’s trying to really drill in his body-obsessed transformation but that's hard to listen to for hours. maybe speed reading the book would've made this an easier read. i was going to give it 3 stars for repping male body dysphoria and being #ownvoices but then i got to the author's note and wished i had just read that instead of was ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book for me, and very unique compared to other YA books I've read. I think this type of book is very important, as it seems that there aren't many books for teens that focus on the dangers of steroid use. Also, I'd never heard of muscle dysmorphia before and I'm sure there are many people who haven't. Bringing light to conditions that are little known is a wonderful thing that novels can do.

David goes through a lot dealing with being bullied and the aftermath of a vir
Anna Bowling
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have always wanted to read a YA that dealt with (cisgender) make body image, so pounced on this one. When the video of a bully's attack on the last day of junior year goes viral, David shifts his summer plans. He''s going to get buff. Ripped. Shredded. Nobody will mess with him ever again. How to get there, though? Helping his dad at the auto body shop, with a physically demanding job? Nah, not when there is the expensive gym (bye bye car money) and competitive bodybuilder trainer. Oh, and gea ...more
Kat C
Books obviously don’t have genders but I think this is a particularly good book for young men because it looks at body dysmorphia, a disorder the affects mostly men and boys. I’m not sure I’ve seen another YA book that tackles this topic in quite this way. It feels particularly salient with the rise of superhero movies, where actors like Chris Pratt and Kumail Nanjiani are suddenly considered more desirable after they bulk up for a superhero movie. In the author’s note Aceves talks about his own ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has an extremely important message for its younger audience, but I often felt like that's all this book was: a message. I do find myself agreeing with other reviewers that I wish Aceves would do more showing rather than outright telling. However, I was overall impressed with the depiction of the struggle with body dysmorphia and mental health issues in the book.

The twist at the end threw me for a loop. I was not expecting that! (view spoiler)
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Fred Aceves was born in New York to A Mexican father, and a Dominican mother, which makes him 100% Mexican, 100% Dominican, and 100% American. He spent most of his youth in Southern California and Tampa, Florida, where he lived in a poor, working class neighborhood like the one described in The Closest I’ve Come. At the age of 21 he started traveling around the world, living in Chicago, New York, ...more

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