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Publisher's Summary

This own voices story from the acclaimed author of The Closest I’ve Come unflinchingly examines steroid abuse and male body dysmorphia. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Matt De La Peña.

David Espinoza is tired of being messed with. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully’s slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up - do what it takes to become a man - and wow everyone when school starts again the fall.

Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that’s full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As it says on the Iron Life wall, What does not kill me makes me stronger.

As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he’ll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything. 

A Chicago Public Library Best Teen Fiction Selection.

©2020 Fred Aceves (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Tiffany M
  • 19-04-2020

This Book Has Taught Me So Much

Not to spoil anything but I was expecting the typical HEA ending but that didn't really happen. This book is very raw, it doesn't hold back when it talks about addiction, body image, common side effects in relation to steroids, Bullying, and much more.
I liked seeing David's character change while he became a little bit annoying I never saw it as voluntary, he had an addiction that led to him feeling a certain way about life and people around him.
I can't think of anything negative really.
One thing I was shocked to experience was the empathy, it was extreme. Anytime David obsessed about his looks or detailed his workout I legitimately felt a strong need to get up and do something, I felt as terrible about myself as he did, which could've been a trigger for me that I didn't realize.

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