Book Review: The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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 one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year, and I am so glad I gave it a chance. I was a bit skeptical initially because I don’t read poetry, but boy was I so amazed.

It’s a story of a young girl in Harlem who is trying to figure out her place in the world, questioning her mother’s religion, her relationship with God, and she writes all of her feelings down in the form of poetry in her journal, and later discovers slam poetry.

It is the author’s debut novel, and I read it because it was easily available and I loved the beautiful cover. I had it on my radar for quite some time, and I am so content that I read it. I loved every part of it.

I found the poems extremely powerful, beautiful, poignant and important. There are so many important subjects talked about in the book, including homophobia, misogyny, and slut-shaming to name a few. Acevedo really puts the feelings of her character into words effectively.

I listened to the audiobook, and I loved the voice of the author, who is also the audiobook narrator. She is so amazing, you guys. If you haven’t read this book yet I would encourage you to listen to the audiobook. It is so, so good. I loved the voice of Acevedo and I’ve heard that she’s also read Pride by Ibi Zoboi, and I think I would listen to that book instead of reading it. That’s how good she is.

My only problem with the book was the ending. I’m not gonna talk about it much but there were things that rubbed me up the wrong way. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I just felt everything fell into place a little too easily for my taste and I found it a bit unrealistic.

But, overall, the book was incredible, and I loved every part of it. You don’t even have to like poetry to fall in love with this book. It was breathtakingly beautiful and touching, and you should definitely read it or listen to it.

Have you read this book already? What are your thoughts about it? If you haven’t read it yet, do you want to read it in the future?

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