Every Body Looking

Candice Iloh. Dutton, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-525-55620-6
In this remarkable novel in verse, introspective Ada moves out of her Nigerian father’s home in Chicago to begin her freshman year at an unnamed historically Black university in Washington, D.C., where she experiences the anxieties and rewards of living independently and making her own decisions. However, traumatic memories of her past persistently haunt Ada, particularly the volatile relationship she has with her estranged mother who suffers from addiction, the gendered expectations that accompany her father’s Christianity, and a childhood sexual assault. Uninspired by her accounting classes, Ada meets Kendra, a charismatic Black dancer, who encourages her to pursue her secret lifelong love of dance. As their relationship deepens beyond friendship, and dance becomes a priority, Ada must bridge the gaps between her past, her father’s projections of her future, and how she wants to define herself and her life. In this stunning debut for young adults, Iloh crafts succinct, beautiful poems to illustrate the difficulties of navigating the tangle of family history and obligation, the power of art to heal and express, and the strength it takes to chart an authentic, independent path. Ages 12–up. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2020
Release date: 09/22/2020
Genre: Children's
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