Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh - OPTIONAL

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh, 408 pages. Dutton Books (Penguin Random House), 2020. $18 

Language: F (29 swears 6 'f'); Mature Content: PG13 (sexual situation); Violence: F (sexual abuse). 



Ada is starting her freshman year in college. She's further from home than she's ever been, and has to make her own decisions for the first time in her life. As she navigates this new world, her love of dancing, college life, discovering she is in a classroom full of smart black kids. She reflects on her life in flashbacks. Ada grew up with her Nigerian father whose expectations were based on his culture, rather than American. Her parents were divorced, so her visits to her drug addicted African American mother were often toxic, and staying at her grandmothers put her in danger from a young cousin who sexually abused her. 

"Every Body Looking" is a coming of age debut novel in verse beautifully constructed. I liked this format because the poetry gave us Ada's story in snippets, like memories, showing pieces of her story that reflect the grown girl without a lot a narrative needed. I would recommend this for a college reader, it feels on the older end of YA. 

Lisa Librarian

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