The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves

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*The book discussed in this post was gifted by the publisher.

There are very few books in the YA circle that talk about male appearence, body dismorphia and the feelings that come in to that. The New David Espinoza has shone some light on to the missing link in YA, and has done it in the best way possible.

This book is one that really stood out to me from an email. It sounded like something that would matter, and honestly something that wouldn’t get a whole bunch of attention. The story is centered around David, and his need for ‘gains’. When David is bullied in school for being small, thin and a little weak, he bulks up over the summer in time for a shock return at school.

The unrealiable narrator was a really good way to experience this book. I was constantly frustrated with David and the way he spoke to people, and about himself, however i think that really showed the horror of the illness he was developing. David would often degrade his peers, and it was hard to read but also made everything David was going through make a little more sense. I really enjoyed the turn of his character and waiting for him to change.

The story itself was interesting, as obviously topics such as drug use were discussed. I knew very little about steriod use before i read The New David Espinoza, and it really did educate me on what people go through whilst using steroids. It was told in a very simplistic and understandable way which focused on David and how he was feeling, which was the right way to go about the story i thought.

I’ve read little if any novels that have discussed male body dismorphia. This feels like something that should be stepping to the front of YA, something of a growing importance that needs to be discussed. As media and social media become ever more important to the lives of young people, it’s important for us to be discussing those issues that might come along side them. It felt like really stepping in to the mind of a teenager with The New David Espinoza. Especially with David’s love for YouTubers and his obsessive nature.

The way this book was written was really reminicent of Benjamin Alire Saenz to me. A family that are going through things, parents that aren’t always the best. The feel was similar and i really loved that.

It’s hard to talk about this book in more ways than i already have. The writing was great, the story-line and what it discussed was done with great clarity and kindness to the topics, but also didn’t outrule how important the topics were. I thought it was a wonderful book that is incredibly important for teenagers to read, and i think it’s something that definitely would interest more male teenage readers.

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3.5 three point five Stars

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