Ada is a character who is learning to see herself through her own eyes. For her entire life, she has tried to be what others want her to be. A respectful and religious daughter for her father. An unconditionally loving daughter for her mother. A studious scholar for colleges and a submissive beauty for men. The desires of others have always come before her own best interest and her dreams for the future.
In Candice Iloh’s exceptional novel in verse, Ada is constantly trying to fit into the boxes of other people’s expectations. There are moments when she tries to break free, but the eyes of others seem always to be watching. Always judging.
When Ada moves away to attend college at an HBCU, she believes things might be different. The people here do not know her, so they shouldn’t have expectations of how she should look or behave. She should be able to be herself. The problem is, Ada has worked so hard to suppress her own feelings and personality that it is hard for her to find herself and she slips into old patterns.
Sometimes finding oneself is the most difficult search of all.
**Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group for access to an Advance Reader Copy of Every Body Looking.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Identity 1: I have a positive view of myself, including an awareness of and comfort with my membership in multiple groups in society.
Action 16: I express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when I personally experience bias.