The Poet X Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

The last challenge for the_Bookish_Club on instagram was the debut of an author and since I had seen this book everywhere I decided it was a perfect one for that prompt. I am glad that I finally got around to ready it because while it was an easy book to get through it had quite an impact on me.

The Poet X is a coming of age story told through poetry about a girl, Xiomara, who is struggling with her relationship with her mother and her relationship with her religion. Xiomara uses slam poetry as a way to understand others, begin to discover who she is and make sense of her feelings, and how to explain her feelings to others. Xiomara’s mother is a devout Catholic and wants her daughter to obey the rules of the church. The actions and words of Xiomara’s Mother cause conflict for Xiomara because she refuses to stay silent.

I really enjoyed this book because there were moments that I was able to relate to and there were moments that I couldn’t stop laughing. I loved the way that the author portrays religion and family and the importance of both of those in the Latinx culture. I loved being able to see that for most Latinx families you weren’t going to have a relationship with your family without religion and God playing a large role in that relationship.

While the mother’s ties to Catholicism are many of the sources to Xiomara’s problems there is never a time where you see the mother as a villain. At least there was never a time in which I disliked the mother and I think part of that was because I could see my family in her. This was something that I really enjoyed and is why I gave it 5 stars. I loved that I could see my family in this book and I could see myself in not just the main character but also in twin.

While twin was a big part in Xiomara’s life we didn’t see much of him but I really enjoyed the parts that we did see and how there is mention his sexuality. I enjoyed that being a part of it because it strengthened the relationship between him and Xiomara and showed how he needed just as much assistance navigating his relationship with his family as she did.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age novels, young adult novels, and books told through poetry.

About the Book: 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. 

About the Author: ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC. 

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.