cover image The New David Espinoza

The New David Espinoza

Fred Aceves. HarperTeen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-248988-3

In this engrossing story about the harsh realities of teen steroid use, 17-year-old David Espinoza, who recently lost his mother to cancer, lives near Orlando with his authoritative Mexican father and his little sister. Six feet tall and skinny, David is frequently ridiculed, particularly by a fellow student who slaps him in the locker room and posts the unflattering video to YouTube, where it goes viral. Humiliated and determined to bulk up, David joins a local gym, where he is quickly introduced to “gear”—steroids that have created nearly superhuman muscles in other gym-goers. David, desperate to change his body by the end of summer, is receiving regular injections, avoiding his concerned friends and girlfriend, and lashing out at his father. The shame David feels about his body and self-image, despite a caring father and supportive girlfriend, is masterfully conveyed through frenetic fluctuations between self-doubt and self-admiration. Through an authentically told story that is both gripping and gut-wrenching, Aceves (The Closest I’ve Come) clearly shows the risks, side effects, and consequences of David’s physical and mental battle. An author’s note details the author’s own experience with steroids as a teen. Ages 14–up. [em](Feb.) [/em]