The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted July 13, 2020 by shooting in Book Review / 21 Comments

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Review by Lauren

Source: library copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): 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.

Review: The Poet X is a book I’d wanted to read for awhile now, so I was excited that my YA for Adults book club was reading this in January (yes, this review is a long time coming). There’s a lot that I liked about The Poet X, but there’s many things that made me angry too. I think Xiomara is a wonderful writer, and I loved that the book was told entirely in verse. I felt bad for her because she had to hide a lot of who she was, as well as her brother, who she just refers to as Twin.

One of the things that made me angry in the book were X’s parents, but especially her mom. There’s talk about how her mom grew up, and her culture and religion, but when it comes down to it? Her mom is abusive. And I feel like while some changes are made in the end of the book, it didn’t really address this – and the ending in general was a bit too quickly wrapped up for me. It didn’t seem entirely realistic to what had previously happened in the book. Pretty much all of my book club agreed with this assessment too.

I am glad to have finally read The Poet X, and it’s obvious that Acevedo is a fantastic writer, but it wasn’t an absolute favorite of mine based on some of the issues I spoke about above.

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21 responses to “The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  1. I really connected with this one personally, being raised in a religious home, but I do see your criticisms… Have you read With the Fire On High? I actually think, though the connection was less personal, that it was even better than this one!

  2. Sounds like a good read. I think it’s tough for an author to sort out abuse conflicts- especially when culture and history is involved. Not that that’s an excuse- there isn’t any excuse for abuse. It’s beneficial that you and your book club were able to identify and find the problems with it!

    Audrey recently posted: A Grateful Heart
  3. verushka

    I have seen this book about, but yours is the first review of it I’ve seen. It’s a difficult topic but worth a read, I think.

  4. I have to agree with you about her parents, but I thought they made some progress over the course of the story. This book made me fall in love with Acevedo’s writing.

  5. First time I’ve seen this book, Lauren. The cover and the blurb drew me in immediately. It sounds like a book I would love. Sorry to hear it didn’t have a full conclusive ending. I still might try this. The blurb was well written in fact. I’m sometimes turned off by a poorly written blurb. Ha 🙂

    lisa thomson recently posted: July and I Have a Complicated Relationship
  6. Ooh I want to read this! I loved Clap When You Land, and reading that made me want to read more of hers. I just checked out the Fire on High on audio and I can’t wait to listen!

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