Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher by: HarperCollins Publishers, HarperTeen
Published on: March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Page Count: 365
A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.
So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
The Poet X was one of my highly anticipated reads of 2018. The novel was truly amazing. This story was fresh, powerful, beautifully written, fierce and poignant. This book is exactly the type of book that my teen-aged self needed. Yes, I am in my mid-thirties but this book resonated with me on a personal level. The Poet X reminded me of all of those complex feelings of uncertainty, that you experience during your adolescence. Where you are questioning yourself, your body, and your beliefs. Those times where you are trying to figure out WHO you are and at the same time you have to battle the expectations that both your family and society build for you.
Poet X, was a vivid story with a diverse set of characters. I had the pleasure of listening to the audio book. I can not recommend it enough. Ms. Acevedo was the narrator for the audio and she put her heart and soul into conveying this story. It was one thing to read the beautiful words on the pages, but to HEAR them, was on a whole other level. It was a phenomenal listen and I didn’t want it to end. The whole story was written in verse. Each poem, read like journal entries from Xiomara’s life.
The book centers on Xiomara Baptista, a 15 year old Afro- Latina girl, from New York. Xiomara was a girl that was used to fighting her battles with her fist and not with her words. Yet, she was a fantastic poet. She was able to pour out her heart and emotions through her writing. Xiomara was such a bold and an amazing character. She was loyal, kind to those she cared about, and she was both mentally and physically strong.
Xiomara was at the time in her life where she was questioning so much. She’s ready to experience life, but there are so many expectations and assumptions placed on her. She was just starting to become interested in boys and dating. Most boys made assumptions about her, based on her well developed body. She was judged for things out of her control.
Xio, was also having a crisis of faith. She came from a religious family and she had a very strict catholic mother. There was such a powerful dynamic between Xiomara and her mom. Both were so strong minded. They were very different from one another, but they were also very similar. Their relationship dynamic was such a huge part of this story.
The Poet X tackled sexuality, religion, and finding yourself. This novel contained so much heart and emotion. It is a fantastic coming of age story and I enjoyed the dynamics of Xiomara’s world. I loved all the characters from Father Sean, Aman (Xio’s love interest), her twin Xavier, her best friend Caridad, and mostly importantly her teacher Ms. Galiano. I loved that this story was real and honest. I highly recommend this story and I’m excited to see what Ms. Acevedo will release next.