The Poet X - 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.

In the rapidly growing world of novels in verse, The Poet X is a welcome addition. Acevedo's writing is fast-paced and beautifully complex. Xiomara's voice is forceful and heart-wrenching, overflowing with emotion and vivid imagery. Though religion is under scrutiny throughout the novel, Xiomara's narrative is a thoughtful critique rather than an outright dismissal of religious impact, particularly where the relationship between X and her mami are concerned.

Secondary characters are not wasted here either. X's brother, mother, father, and friends, are all necessary to the story. X's brother is integral to the plot, his own relationship drama and the complicated dynamics within the whole family truly rounding out the whole narrative and emotional arc. The Poet X is a novel that you won't want to miss, whether you're a fan of poetry, or a fan of strong writing, or you simply want a fantastic narrative. Check it out!

Highly Recommended

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reader's Copy - Out March 2018)


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