The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo ~ 368 pages ~ published 3/6/18 by HarperTeen
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.
What I Thought:
I have never read a novel in verse before The Poet X, and now I want to read all of them! I loved this so much more than I thought I would. I heard a lot of people say that they recommended listening to the audiobook of this one, and I am so glad that I did. The author, Elizabeth Acevedo, is the narrator and she does a fantastic job. It is only 3.5 hours long, so I was able to knock it out in one day easily.
I really loved Xiomara. I found her to be so real, and I related to her a lot. I grew up in a very religious household as well, and while I have a much closer relationship to God than Xiomara does, I certainly felt a lot of the same pressures and confusion as a teen that she talks about in the book. I was also a big journal keeper in my high school years (which is something I should really get back to, come to think of it). Having strict parents, but still respecting them and wanting them to be proud of you…too real, too real.
I am not super familiar with the world of slam poetry, but I loved getting to dip a toe into this world. It was inspiring and incredibly engaging. I never thought that I would connect so much with a story told in verse, but I fell in love with this story and these characters.
If you are an audiobook person, I highly recommend giving this book a listen. If you enjoy slam poetry, or are interested in learning more about it, I think this is a really great intro into that art form. Just read it, you’re going to love it! 🙂
I gave The Poet X 5 STARS! This is one of my favorite reads of 2018!
Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!
Have you read The Poet X? Do you have any other novels in verse that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
Love and happy reading,