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Every Body Looking

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,051 ratings  ·  539 reviews
Every Body Looking is a debut novel in verse tells the story of Ada--daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother--and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and in her own family.

Every Body Looking is a heavily autobiographical novel of a young woman's struggle to carve a place for herself--for her black female body--in a world of deeply con
Hardcover, 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 3.79  · 
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 ·  3,051 ratings  ·  539 reviews

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Kai Spellmeier
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, owned
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
Every Body Looking is one of those books that reads quickly but packs a hell of a punch and makes you feel everything in your body and soul for the main character. This is also one of those books that is so traumatic that I can't say that I "enjoyed" it, but it is a story that needed to be told.

Every Body Looking is a hard look at the ways in which people and trauma makes self-identity complicated. Told in verse from the present and through a series of flashbacks, this book focuses on Ada as she
Melanie (mells_view)
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2021 rated it liked it
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
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
Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany)
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
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.
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,
Allie (alliewithbooks)
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 👌.
Monte Price
We're just going to pretend as though I haven't been sitting on this arc for going on two years... Yeah? Yeah... let's do that.

I would also like to say that I don't really know how to judge this. Objectively novels in verse are really shaping up to be not my jam, I don't think that I've ever read one and felt it hit as intimately as hard as other readers have.

There were elements of this that I enjoyed more? Though that might simply be because I waited for two years to pick this up I was able to
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
So many wonderful aspects of this YA story. The best novel in verse I've encountered, beautifully read by the author. The dance descriptions were brilliant, capturing the confluence of internal feelings, the space of the dance studio, being conscious (or not) of the instructor and other dancers. Loved Ada's sensitivity to her father who relied so heavily on religion as a single parent, and her growing into the realization that she doesn't need religion in the same way. I found myself sympathizin ...more
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-contemporary
Well, that was underwhelming. I couldn't connect to the mc and the entire writing just seemed lazy to me. ...more
Every Body Looking centers on Ada, whose life is determined by her parents. Between a father who is strict about his expectations and a mother who is an addict and an alcoholic, Ada has never had much agency in her own life. All of that changes when she starts her first year at a Historically Black College and finds that her choices are her own.

This book is all about questioning. Questioning your sexuality, your identity, your passions, your boundaries, your life. Ada is coming into herself and
Traci Thomas
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
I read this book in fall 2020 and then listened to it on audio in winter 2021. This one didn't work for me. Not enough happened for me and the verse didn't add to my reading or listening to the book. There is some good stuff going but over all it was a let down. To be fair, I don't read many novels in verse, and I might not have the skill set to read a book like this.

Iloh clearly respects the hell out of young people and doesn't talk down to them. The book is mature, not in a content way, but in
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”

Veruca Athena
Feb 27, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, I was NOT expecting this book to be in verse. I’m not sure if it needed to be either since Ada didn’t have a connection to poetry. The time jumping was another interesting concept that I’m not sure how I felt about it. I did enjoy the eye-opener to Nigerian culture and complex family relationships.
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 Thomas
I couldn’t really get into this book. There were parts I liked and other stuff I missed. The humor was subtle and appreciated.
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
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-author
3.5 stars
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
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
Cathy Wolters
Jan 31, 2022 rated it liked it
Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh was a Printz Award Nominee in 2021. Written in prose, this novel is about an eighteen year old named Ada who feels out of place in her own skin. She goes to college, because that is what her father expects of her. The story shifts between Ada’s present day, college life and memories from her past. By learning about Ada’s past, the reader gets to know her parents and how they have impacted Ada’s thought patterns and decision-making. While Ada loves to draw and d ...more
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
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Harpreet Kaur, Review 5 1 3 Oct 27, 2022 01:21PM  

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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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“When people talk about college they never really talk about how you’re going to change before your whole family’s eyes” 0 likes
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