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The author is successful at writing a good YA story while using poetry to help the reader understand the main character, Xiomara. This is the story of a teenage girl who is finding her way while growing up in Harlem, coming to terms with her catholic religion, and her desire to be heard. She writes poetry and joins the Poetry Slam Club and has to hide this from her strict mother. I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars because of how well Acevedo is able to weave the poetry into the story line. Through the poetry the reader learns about the character and her feelings about her mother, her church and her desires.
The Poet X is for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. The book is written in prose and will not disappoint. The protagonist, Xiomara Batista has a lot to say, but often feels the pressure of a family that does not support her exploration in creativity. When she gets invited to her school’s poetry slam, everything changes and she’s faced with choosing to appease her family or choosing to express herself through performing poetry. I really loved this book because of how I could connect to the main character being a POC who deals with the pressure of trying to be perfect, while fighting inner demons. The book was crafted very beautifully and I find myself picking it up to read again and again.
Such a good coming of age story. Xiamara knows who she is from the get-go, but seeing her fully form into that amazing person, feeling strong and comfortable enough to let her truth shine was inspiring. I recommend the audio for the author's powerful reading of this YA novel in verse.
Adored this! The poetry is lovely and the coming of age element is just so well-done.
Trigger Warnings: Sexism/Misogyny, Slut-Shaming, Abuse (both physical and emotional), Sexual Assault/Harassment, Homophobia
The Poet X follows Xiomara as she discovers pieces of herself. Religion also plays a key role in this novel as Xiomara battles with figuring out what she believes in.
I felt all the emotions while reading about Xiomara. It grasped at my heart and squeezed, it made me make my own fists, ready to fight; it was powerful. I can see why it won all the awards it has received. I was a little iffy about reading this book, but only because I don't read poetry - I can count on one hand how many poetry books I've read. But, I'm glad I read it because I feel like this is a book everyone should read.
Reading verses with Xiomara's mother was challenging. Her mother loved her religion more than she loved her children and was so outwardly cruel to her daughter because of how she was growing. Xiomara obviously had no control over how fast or large her body developed. She wanted Xiomara to be the Nun she couldn't be. She was also so demanding of her but not her brother, especially when it came to how she acts and how she helps out around the house. The way she disciplined her was heartbreaking.
Xiomara is a voice for so many youth and Elizabeth Acevedo had written this amazingly. This books deals with family, first love, religion, self-acceptance, sexuality, sexual harassment, and friendship. It's a quick read that's written beautifully. I would highly recommend this book to anyone (even those that don't read poetry).
Overall I liked it. She does not shy away from what a teenager's life is really like. Love, love, loved, loved the Dominican background and use of Spanish in the verse. She really fleshes out her world in a way that is poetic and concrete.
My harshest criticism and that several of the poems could have had more weight if she cut down on the number of them. Still a fast read and enjoyable. Highly recommend.
I loved this book and Xiomara's journey to becoming the person that she wants to be. I haven't read many novels written in verse, but this one is fantastic.
The Poet X written by Elizabeth Acevedo is a young adult novel in verse about a sophomore girl in Harlem. Acevedo is a gifted teller of stories with a precise and captivating talent for word choice, pacing, tone and topic. She tells the story of X as X focuses on: her very religious mom, sexuality, high school, sharing her poetry, a gifted twin brother, the ugly ways ‘boys’ objectify her, having a secret boy friend, discovering slam poetry, and so much more. Her writing is so on the mark and assessable - it is not surprising that the work has been honored with the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Not only is X Trinidadian American, but she reminds me of Bri from On The Come Up a little. I can't find a reason not to like this book.
A girl who feels silenced finds her voice through poetry in this novel in verse. Beautiful book that feels raw and real. This coming of age shows stark realities and all the differing and contradicting parts of people that make us human. In stories like this it’s very easy to straight up vilify the parents or whoever stands in the protagonist’s way of finding themselves, but Acevedo shows that in real life it’s harder to do that because we are all imperfect and also that we love imperfectly, even parents. Xiomara was such a rich beautiful character and I was so glad to know her and her story in her voice. I think a great introduction to novels in verse or to pique and interest in poetry. Alternatively, you can just merely savor the brilliant words and feel the emotional imprint of this coming of age journey.
Some books you read and you finish them knowing it was good writing and storytelling you just read. But then there are books like this one and you feel them in your heart and soul. They reverberate in your mind and force you to put the book down every so often because they are just so good and the emotional response you're having to it is so intense. I highly recommend for adults and teens alike. That's all I can write right now because my mind has not reconfigured from being blown.
A book in verse about a girl finding her voice through poetry? Yes, please. While coming-of-age stories aren't always my thing, this one has a raw, inspiring beauty to it that kept me reading. And some of the lines are so spot on, they require you to sit with them a little longer in appreciation.
Interesting book and great poetry. 👍🏻
It was sort of a roller coaster in cheering the main character on. She didn’t agree with her Catholic mother. Her mother was sort of the bad guy I in the story. Even though her mother was strict, I do not think that the Church deserves ( perhaps it does) the criticism and negativity that it got from this young character. It wasn’t direct, but it was there.
There were also a couple of decisions that she made that I didn’t agree with, kissing a guy you barely know, especially if he smokes, walking away from the church. I understand that those things can feel good and freeing.
I didn’t like how the book portrayed tinge idea that in life if you wanted to be a part of the church, it would be too much for you and eventually you would have to choose between love and literature. I wanted to scream: No! You can follow Christ AND have those things! Why is the Church seen as so restricting?
Other than these thoughts, I was a fool book. It made me think and it had great imagery and poetry. Lots of emotion. Also, it’s a thick book but a cohort read because it’s all poetry. 📝
I listened to this audio book which was read by the author Elizabeth Acevedo and it was phenomenal! Her style of writing was beautiful and they way her words flowed together was very heartfelt. She spoke about real things young ladies experience when our bodies develop in our teen years and men feel they can talk and treat us in certain ways. Just because the main character Xiomara had curves, did not mean she was fast (she was quite the opposite), she couldn't help the way her body was shaped. She did not take mess from anyone. I wish I had her courage and fierceness at that age. This book is full of beautifully flawed characters that made the story everything it needed to be. Definitely one of my favorites reads from 2019.
This book (especially in audio!) is compelling and powerful. It provides an emotional view of both Xiomara's raw inner world and the struggles she faces in the world at large as a teen pressed between cultures and expectations. She is trying desperately to find her voice and to be heard, and the verses are mesmerizing. I am not one who generally chooses the book-in-verse format, but I loved this one. And if you can get it in audio, the experience of being there is complete.
Well, I don't mind telling you that I cried at the end of this book. I LOVED IT! There is power in the word: every single word Acevedo writes and even more power in those she speaks. Obviously I LOVED the audiobook.
I feel like there is a reckoning in those final lines that contains joy and wonder and strength and pain. There is a depth to Acevedo's work that I cannot believe she is able to sustain over such a period of pages! A novel in poetry is a rare and wondrous feat.
Acevedo performs this novel with emotion and heart and pain and love. She uses silence as a tool and so the white space of the poems is communicated to the listener without a need for translation from page to sound. She writes her themes into the plot in a really admirable way. Forgiveness becomes an act, a theme, an abstract ghost hanging over the words, and perhaps a kind of quest narrative that may or may not be realized.
Acevedo writes so many different types of misunderstood. No character is definable by a single word. They are complex, multilayered, flawed, beautiful people trying to make sense of the situations they confront. I love how bravely Acevedo writes Xiomara's struggles and feelings around her body. I love the acknowledgement of how difficult it is to be constantly seen as curves instead of creativity. Mostly, I love that Acevedo is careful and consistent in the presentation of Xiomara's struggles with her body as the result of those surrounding her. Nothing about Xiomara or her body is wrong. She is constantly told that she is wrong by strangers and their looks, or the words of family members. She is constantly told how to restrain herself (body, mind, soul) and her breaking free is neither simple nor complete. Not very many YA novels present this difficult trial with nuance or grace and Acevedo manages both.
I find this book stunning. Absolutely stunning.
This book is amazing. The Author took her time writing this book, it is definitely a page turner. She paints vivid pictures of each scene. The reader feels like he/she knows the characters. She is a great writer and the book is awesome.
For those who see themselves reflected in this book, for those who are living the life of the character in this book, this book must be amazing. However, I personally failed to see myself reflected in this girl and thus did not particularly gain much from it.
This amazing book by Elizabeth Acevedo shows, not tells, us about Xiomara, who is a complicated character, who we can easily relate to. I, thankfully, don’t have a fear about speaking aloud in front of people about my work. Xiomara, unfortunately, does, which is relatable to others for sure.
I would suggest this book for people who are stuck in their cultural box, and wants to find the way out of the taping. I LOVE this book, was sad when I finished it. I read it over and over again, never visualizing the same thing.
I highly recommend this book. It has reasons to why it’s won like a million awards.
A quick and powerful read, The Poet X delivers a beautifully raw coming of age story that is as joyful as it is heart wrenching. I listened to the audiobook and was blown away by Elizabeth Acevedo's narration -- a must listen if you're into spoken word poetry!
A coming of age through clashing cultures and family traditions makes for a powerful story; told through verse makes it incredibly unique.
The Poet X has won multiple awards and for good reason. It's a powerful novel with a strong, yet vulnerable female voice. Told in free verse, this is a lightning-fast read with some serious depth. Xiomara Batista feels stifled by her religious mother, who resents her for her bodacious curves that suggest sin. Poetry is Xiomara's outlet and what a powerful outlet it is. You'll root for Xiomara to find her voice as the Poet X.
When I finished National Book Award winner The Poet X, I felt chills. Powerful, descriptive narrative poetry that details a story of first love, family, and religion. I was awed, shocked, warmed, saddened, angered, and calmed.