The Poet X

The Poet X

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...

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Title:The Poet X
Author:Elizabeth Acevedo
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The Poet X Reviews

  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I’ve always been fond of stories told through verse, and I love Elizabeth’s poetry, so when I learned that she was writing her first YA novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I never once doubted that I would love it, but I didn’t know it could mean so much to me. I didn’t have a clue that I was in for such a raw, honest ride about how religion impacts childre

    I’ve always been fond of stories told through verse, and I love Elizabeth’s poetry, so when I learned that she was writing her first YA novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I never once doubted that I would love it, but I didn’t know it could mean so much to me. I didn’t have a clue that I was in for such a raw, honest ride about how religion impacts children and how detrimental it can be to try keeping a teen from blossoming into their own bodies and sexuality. I know

    is a love story to poetry, but as someone who was raised in a sheltered, religious home, terrified of my own body and the things it wanted, this is a love story to those kids, too.

    Every teen’s path has a few major obstacles, and Xiomara’s are her body, and the ways people view her for it. At 15-going-on-16, she’s a tall Dominican girl with a thick figure, and she laments the different struggles it causes her – whether it’s boys (and men) giving her unwanted attention, or her mother blaming her for it.

    Xiomara’s young, but she’s already so painfully aware of what rape culture does to the society she lives in. She constantly is harassed, whether it’s a cat-call on the sidewalk or a stranger’s hand on her curves, but her experience is depicted so

    I think an unfortunate number of women, of all ages, will read this story and relate to the nauseating mixture of guilt and anger brought on by these words and gestures we never, ever asked for – unless breathing in a woman’s body is

    .

    Meanwhile, throughout the struggles of living in this rape culture, Xiomara wants to live, and be happy, and find love. She has a sweet, understated blossom of romance with Aman, a classmate from Trinidad, and even explores the ways in which she can become comfortable in her own skin: learning to see her body as beautiful, not oversized, and discovering what she wants and needs. (By the way, can we please get more books normalizing teen girls who explore their own bodies like this one does? We’ve tried this whole “girls don’t crave sex like boys do” approach in YA for way too long, and it’s clearly not getting anyone anywhere.)

    The other big struggle in Xiomara’s life comes in the form of her family, and her mother’s religious views. If you are uncomfortable with religion being portrayed in a candid and sometimes negative light, I’ll go ahead and say that

    may be one you should go into with caution, as Xiomara does raise a lot of questions about the church, scriptures, and God. She has a hard time coming to terms with the devout beliefs of her loved ones, and the gap between her religious views and her mother’s come to blows (literally) throughout the story. There is an honest depiction of parental abuse in this story, and her mother’s excuses are consistently rooted in her religious beliefs, which I know may make some of my religious friends uncomfortable, so I wanted to offer fair warning on that.

    There’s also quite a lot of discussion regarding how girls are raised in devoutly religious households, and how common it is that they are taught that their bodies are a stumbling block for the men in their lives. Xiomara finds herself frustrated by the idea that she is expected to carry the full burden of what men do to her body, and muses a few concerns about how absent she feels that God is from the objectification and abuse she faces. There’s also a bit of talk about how queer individuals are treated in the church, as Xiomara’s twin brother is gay and closeted, and the siblings feel a substantial amount of terror regarding how he’s going to be treated if he is outed.

    At its core,

    is a story about overcoming the ideals that our families push upon us, learning how to know who we are and what we want, and loving ourselves when the world doesn’t make it easy. It’s about family, and the ways that we try to make situations work, and the desperation with which we must remember that, at the end of the day, we have to keep ourselves happy and safe – no matter the relationships it may cost us. It’s about body positivity and loving the skin that we’re in, and fighting back against a society that reduces us to cup sizes and the length of our skirts. It is a beautiful, empowering, diverse, feminist tale, and I will undoubtedly be recommending it to everyone, but especially to any young girls who need to hear that they are whole, they are good, and they deserve happiness and freedom.

  • Tomi Adeyemi

    #ThePoetX was so beautiful that I didn’t want to highlight it or dog ear pages, so I just took pictures basically every page

    This was the type of book where “I’ll just do 50 pages” turned into finishing it in 2 reads

    I felt very emotional reading this book, not just because the story and the words themselves were so beautiful, but because I knew it was going to make so many teens who felt like no one cares about them or listens to them feel seen.

    I also knew that if I had had books like this or Lo

    #ThePoetX was so beautiful that I didn’t want to highlight it or dog ear pages, so I just took pictures basically every page

    This was the type of book where “I’ll just do 50 pages” turned into finishing it in 2 reads

    I felt very emotional reading this book, not just because the story and the words themselves were so beautiful, but because I knew it was going to make so many teens who felt like no one cares about them or listens to them feel seen.

    I also knew that if I had had books like this or Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds as a kid, I wouldn’t have taken me until the age of 17 to realize I loved reading and writing

    Can’t say enough good things about these books, everyone should pre-order and read it! It’s out 3/6/18!!

  • Laurie Anderson

    A story that will slam the power of poetry and love back into your heart!! Highly recommended!

  • Ashley Nuckles

    Sooo good. SO good. And the poetry was beautiful! I’d read anything by Elizabeth Acevedo.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This was INCREDIBLE. I very rarely enjoy poetry but I listened to the audiobook of this one and it absolutely blew me away. I can't wait to buy my own physical copy so I can tab up all my favorite parts. SO. DAMN. GOOD.

  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    🙎🏽♀📓🖊

    ❤📝🎤

    I loved how honest, raw & beautiful this book was. Elizabeth Acevedo gave voice to so many youth through Xiomara. I was her in my youth and this book took me back to those teen years growing up in NY with strict Hispanic parents. How I wish I had a book like this

    🙎🏽‍♀️📓🖊

    ❤️📝🎤

    I loved how honest, raw & beautiful this book was. Elizabeth Acevedo gave voice to so many youth through Xiomara. I was her in my youth and this book took me back to those teen years growing up in NY with strict Hispanic parents. How I wish I had a book like this to remind me that I too was seen and heard during those emotionally wrought, chaotic years.

    The story tackled so many important topics - family, love, religion, self-acceptance, sexuality, sexual harassment, friendship and it does so flawlessly in verse that keeps you turning the pages.

    The relationships in the book are powerful - Xiomara & her twin Xavier, Xiomara & her mother (this relationship was wrought with emotion!), Xiomara and her father, Xiomara & her friend Caridad, Xiomara & Aman (her first love), Xiomara & her priest, Xiomara and her teacher, Ms. Galiano - all of them were complex and helped shape her.

    Xiomara's voice was compelling, vulnerable, empowering and above all passionate. I probably would never have read this book if it hadn't arrived in my Page Habit box. I'm grateful it did because I would have missed out on a treasure! I look forward to seeing more from Elizabeth Acevedo in the future. She writes from the heart, celebrating her culture and giving a positive voice to hispanic/latino girls. This debut novel has certainly made me a fan. Now, I'm off to find some clips of her performing her award winning slam poetry.

  • Lola

    : Bad poetry ahead.

    I stand here, and I think,

    if there is one thing I want to say,

    to Xiomara,

    it’s that she is proof effervescent passion and love,

    transcend hate.

    Words have the power,

    to open your chest,

    and pull your heart out,

    and carry it to the sky.

    But if those words are not expressed,

    if they remain imprisoned,

    and you remain restrained,

    you will never feel freedom.

    I want to let them free,

    to let them fly,

    to let them breathe,

    to let me cry,

    my emotions out,

    to form a pool,

    that becomes a sanct

    : Bad poetry ahead.

    I stand here, and I think,

    if there is one thing I want to say,

    to Xiomara,

    it’s that she is proof effervescent passion and love,

    transcend hate.

    Words have the power,

    to open your chest,

    and pull your heart out,

    and carry it to the sky.

    But if those words are not expressed,

    if they remain imprisoned,

    and you remain restrained,

    you will never feel freedom.

    I want to let them free,

    to let them fly,

    to let them breathe,

    to let me cry,

    my emotions out,

    to form a pool,

    that becomes a sanctuary.

    So that happened. Yeah. Never wrote a poem in my life. And now I’ve written four (bad ones). I guess I can only improve from here.

    But seriously, gorgeous book. If you’ve enjoyed

    by Sarah Crossan, you’ll love this for sure.

    Buddy read with dear

    . ♡

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  • Christy

    is lyrical, deep, and meaningful. I loved the way this book was written. It had a fantastic flow, the poetry was poignant, and Xiomara's voice and character really shined through.

    This is a story about a teenage girl who lives in Harlem. She lives with her twin brother, her father, and an overly religious mother. Xiomara isn't allowed to have a voice in that house. Her mother wants her to be close to a god she's not sure she believes in and feels that should be the focus of her

    is lyrical, deep, and meaningful. I loved the way this book was written. It had a fantastic flow, the poetry was poignant, and Xiomara's voice and character really shined through.

    This is a story about a teenage girl who lives in Harlem. She lives with her twin brother, her father, and an overly religious mother. Xiomara isn't allowed to have a voice in that house. Her mother wants her to be close to a god she's not sure she believes in and feels that should be the focus of her life. Boys, poetry, anything meaningful to X is forbidden.

    Her life is a struggle. Xiomara has a curvy body and at just 15, she is leered at by boys. She only has one boy she likes, but she can't really be with him the way she wants to be (overprotective mother). Xiomara's outlet is writing. Her poetry gets her through everything she goes through. Her words are powerful. And with those words, she not only expresses herself, but just maybe starts to change minds and hearts that she felt were impossible to change.

    I listened to the audio version of this book, which was narrated by the author. Elizabeth Acevedo not only wrote a moving story, but gave a moving performance narrating it. If you're going to read this book, I can't recommend listening to it enough. I feel like I got more out of it hearing Xiomara's story and listening to her read her poems.

    This is very much a coming of age story about a girl who doesn't feel like she fits. I loved that her entire story was told through slam poetry and it had such a great message.

    is a unique story I feel will stay with me. I can't wait to read more from this author.

  • Imane

    This was really powerful and moving, however I just couldn't connect with Xiomara and was at times, frustrated with her.

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