I received this book for free from Library, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Narrator: Elizabeth Acevedo
Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
Published by HarperTeen on March 6, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Poetry, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Netgalley
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.
The Poet X is a book that I’ve had sitting on my kindle for a long time. It was also the July pick for the Latinx Book Club, so I figured, I need to pick this up NOW.
My First Impression:
I had heard through several people that I was going to love the Poet X. And it was a pretty hyped book and as you know, me and hype books have a very rocky relationship. So, I went in with the best intentions and I can say that I absolutely loved The Poet X.
I loved the writing style of The Poet X. I was intrigued from the very beginning. I loved the way the story was told through the poetry and how it made me feel. I was happy, I was sad, I was confused, I was angry and above all I related to it A LOT. A Lot more then I expected.
I had an ARC from The Poet X but for some reason, I saw the library had the audiobook available, so I decided to listen to it, and I was intrigued from the first page (first listen, I guess). I would’ve listened to the audiobook in a whole day, but my headphones died (first world problems, ya’ll).
I loved Xiomara from the very first page. I could relate to her A LOT. I appreciated her struggles of being a teenager mixed with also wanting a little bit more outside what your parents have taught you. I especially loved how she was able to let herself be okay without wanting more. I loved how much she grew, how much she wanted to be better. I saw a lot of me in Xiomara. Even though she’s Dominican and I’m Mexican, it felt like our cultures were very similar and I felt a lot of the things she felt.
The side characters of mami, papi, Twin, Aman and Caridad.
Mami, of course made me angry, of course. She did remind me a bit of my mother, although my mom and I have a great relationship, but it did take a lot to get there. Papi was there but wasn’t there. I loved him towards the end. I really loved Twin and would’ve loved to see him again in the future. I feel like there was so much of him to unpack. I think he was a great side character. I also loved how Xiomara wasn’t afraid to defend him at all and how he’d do the same for her. I also loved Aman, even though I feel like Xiomara did treat him a bit unfairly (but with I guess a reason, I know I had to treat guys like that and sneak around too) but I loved how when she needed him he was there and how encouraging of her poetry he was. I also loved Caridad, although I felt like she struggled to see Xiomara’s struggles she was still a great friend to her.
I also appreciated the struggle of growing up and beginning to question your parents about their choices. I also appreciated the idea of questioning religion. This was something I personally struggled with growing up and it was something I vowed to not do to my children. I to do this day still battle my grandma about teaching my children religion and having them do the sacraments. It is a struggle I’ve seen my younger cousins have but that I have to remind them not to talk about out loud because I don’t want to hear my aunts and uncles lectures us for hours. It made me feel seen because I related to a character who felt and thought a lot like me. It made me love this book so much.
I loved the fact (and also hated) the idea of how sexualize a young girl could be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the hips or curves. It could be simple thing such as wearing a tank top, a V neck shirt, wearing red lipstick, wearing eyeliner. I remember being told I was going to become “one of those girls” if I wore red nail polish or if I wore red lipstick. AND TODAY I ROCK MY RED LIPSTICK ANY CHANCE I GET. I hate how unnecessary the blame is put on a female for the advances of others and how we were made to feel ashamed of it. It is something that sometimes I still struggle with today.
The audiobook is very short about 3 hours and 30 minutes and is narrated by Elizabeth. I loved that. I loved hearing her speak in English and switching to Spanish. It is something I’ve always loved about being bilingual. I loved the narration and the emotion you could feel form Elizabeth.
If you haven’t picked up The Poet X, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? I highly recommend the audiobook. GO READ IT NOW!