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Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 357
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (NY)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 her frustration onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers--especially after she catches feelings fo ra boy in her bio class. 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.

When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she knows that she could never get around Mami's rules to attend, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in spite of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Review: When I was a high school librarian, I started a student poetry slam, which was so much fun! So, this book appealed to me as soon as I heard about it. There are so many young people who have so much to say and I learned that slam poetry was a great outlet for many of them. And, it made the long list for the National Book Award. Not bad!

This book, written in verse, is good. Very good. Xiomara writes wonderful poetry for herself, it's the only way her voice is heard. But a caring teacher hears her voice and encourages her. Encourages her to believe in herself and to make her voice heard. And sometimes you have to ask over and over.

I also liked the supporting characters, even Xiomara's mother who made me so angry. I could understand the fear that drove her to be so harsh with her daughter. I also liked the relationship between Xiomara and her twin, though I think it could have been even stronger.

There's a lot going on in this book: family, school, bullying, sexual harassment, and empowerment.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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