The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

Electric Monkey

April 2018

$19.99 AU

362p pb

ISBN: 978-1405291460

from HarperCollins...

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. But she still 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.

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African-Latino Xiomara lives in Harlem with her devoutly religious mother, her father and “perfect” twin brother. At 16 she is beginning to feel the confines of her life with all the rules her Catholic mother imposes. She feels unheard and is uncertain about her beliefs. With her confirmation nearing how will she break the news to her mother? Xiomara pours out her innermost thoughts and emotions in her poems. Encouraged by her English teacher she secretly joins the slam poetry club at school, hoping one day to compete in a poetry slam. She is also secretly seeing her lab partner, Aman. But her world comes crashing down around her when she is caught by her mother with Aman. What will she do?

This debut novel in verse by Elizabeth Acevedo is a fantastic read. Her writing draws the reader in as you go on a very personal journey with Xiomara. At times a painful journey we follow Xiomara traversing her once confined life to that of defiance and liberation as she rejects her religious upbringing and breaks free of her mother’s expectations. Highly recommended for 13-up readers.

Stephen, Canberra

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