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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
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The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

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7245220,106 (4.49)68
"Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. 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. Mami is determined to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, and Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems"--Dust jacket.… (more)

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“My brother was born a soft whistle:
quiet, barely stirring the air, a gentle sound.
But I was born all the hurricane he needed
to lift - and drop- those that hurt him to the ground.”


Thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and empowering. It's been ages since I've read a book written in verse, but I thought it was perfect for Xiomara's story. She expresses herself through poetry, and the words flew from the pages to fill my ears and ultimately my heart.

Highlight. Highlight. Highlight. If I had read a physical copy, it would be covered in notes. There were so many amazing quotes and phrases in this book; it would be impossible for me to share them all! “And I think about all the things we could be if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.”

Elizabeth Acevedo has written a story for the soul. One day the words will fade from my memory, but I will never forget how this book made me feel.

Please believe me when I say that you need this book in your life! Especially the audio version! The author is the narrator, and she knows the characters better than anyone else. There were a lot of sounds (sighs, tongue clicks, etc.) that would have been missed had I read a physical copy. I think those small details really enriched the overall story and made the characters more realistic.

One of the great things about books written in verse, is their ability to tell impactful stories with very few words. I felt like I was living and breathing Xiomara's thoughts and feelings, and it was easy to get lost in her story.

Every character was important, regardless of how often they appeared in the book. The guys that groped and harassed Xiomara effected her experiences and her writing. Her father was absent even when he was present. Her twin, Xavier, was repeatedly saved by her fists and her fury. Her mother was too involved and wanted to control everything, even the thoughts in her head. Her best friend was her opposite in every way, but she was always there and never waivered. A teacher, a lab partner, a priest, a random person on the train -- everyone played a role. I really enjoyed seeing how they helped to shape Xiomara over time.

The one thing that bothered me was Xiomara's relationship with her family. Her father and brother were too silent and frequently ignored what was happening around them. Her mother was abusive with her words and her religion, and I hated how one-sided it was. Xiomara was treated differently because she was a girl. She needed to pray that her body wouldn't attract unwanted attention, like it was somehow her fault that people were creeps and couldn't keep their thoughts to themselves. I hated that her family wasn't more supportive and understanding.

Xiomara was an authentic character that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to. She is teenager trying to find her place in the world, which isn't always easy. She struggles with her body and the way it's perceived by others. She wants to express her thoughts and feelings, but doesn't know how. She's full of emotions and desires and dreams, but also wonders whether or not they're allowed. She's perfectly imperfect -- just like everyone else.

Originally posted at Do You Dog-ear? on November 29, 2018. ( )
  doyoudogear | Oct 10, 2019 |
This is a novel told in verse: slam poetry about a slam poet by a slam poet. Read by one too, not incidentally. If you're not listening to this as an audiobook you are missing out. Acevedo's voice is inextricably Xiomara's. This made my heart just ache. ( )
  Jeeps | Sep 21, 2019 |
Made me cry. Being a teenager is so tough and imagine not believing you’re loved whilst you go through it.

Lovely book. Thanks to the poet for sharing. ( )
  PhilippaHorsell | Sep 13, 2019 |
This was a very moving book. The poetry told the story wonderfully. The author really brought the story alive and made it easy to relate the main character. The book touched upon many issues that young girls are dealing with today as well as the culture clash between her parents' world and her own. I really liked the ending and how all the characters evolved throughout the book. ( )
  Cora-R | Aug 15, 2019 |
You could go to the Schomburg
  BtB_Library | Aug 1, 2019 |
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