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.
This is a book I have heard nothing but good things about, and this is also the second book that I read that was in verse. Earlier this year I read The Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds that I also really loved.
The fact, that the book was written in verse, made the book a lot stronger and easy to read through, it only took me about a day to read it. It also had a sort of meta feel to it mainly because the main plot of the book is about Xiomara dealing a lot with her poetry.
Xiomara, is a girl living in Harlem, also dealing with her immigrant family, and her mother wants her to be the good Catholic girl, which mainly means no boys or dating. She is also often compared to twin brother, Xavier who is basically the genius of the family.
The book style really makes the story stronger, with every verse it was extremely powerful, and you really get a sense of Xiomara’s pain and struggle. The emotion Xiomara felt was real and raw.
The book also deals with Xiomara’s struggle to find her own voice. She mostly writes all of her emotions down in her notebook , and it wasn’t until her teacher encouraged her to join a slam poetry club at her school, and as the book goes on so does her poetry.
I also liked that the book didn’t hold back in regards to her relationship with her mother, and it really felt just as raw, as her poetry, with her mother clearly not understanding why it is important to her. While you don’t actually see her actual poems, the verses within the book just make it more exciting.
In the end, The Poet X was a fantastic read from start to finish. The fact that it was written in verse, you get a good sense of Xiomara’s emotions. While this was my second book that I read in verse, I loved every word on every page.