Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry
Release Date: March 6, 2018
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.
Review:I really enjoyed this story! It is written in free verse so it doesn’t rhyme but it is separated into stanzas. Most of the poems or sections are less than a page long, so it was pretty quick to read though. This easy format makes it accessible for reluctant readers. Xiomara is conflicted in this story. She has to decipher between what she learns in school, what she learns at church, and how her body feels. It’s hard when teenagers get so many conflicting opinions and advice, but sometimes you just have to do what’s right for you. For Xiomara, that’s writing poetry. This is a great story for anyone who feels like they are having trouble fitting in. Sometimes, you just need to find your voice.
What to read next:
Because I Was A Girl: True Stories for Girls of All Ages by Melissa de la Cruz (Editor)
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Have you read The Poet X? What did you think of it?