The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

August 14, 2018

With a heart full of unheard lyrics, Xiomara wants nothing more than to write her poetry and share it but instead she keeps her mouth shut. She lives with her very religious family in Harlem and with daily catcalls from both boys and men and her mother’s disapproval, Xiomara needs an escape from her caged life. She finds it in slam poetry but balancing her passion with her parents’ idea of being a good girl turns out to be an impossible task.

Xiomara has people who loves her. She has a twin brother, almost the complete opposite of herself, who wants her to succeed. A best friend who is always looking out for her and a teacher who guides her towards her potential as well. What Xiomara is looking for is freedom to do, say and believe in what she want. She wants to write slam poetry but her controlling mother is constantly reminding her of duties, responsibilities and most importantly, God. Eventually, everything starts to unravel. Xiomara begins questioning her feelings toward the church (forbidden), she falls in love (forbidden), she joins a slam poetry club (forbidden). Xiomara doesn’t want to break all her mother’s rules but when she finally finds her own voice, she refuses to be silenced again.

The Poet X was an incredibly unique read. The story itself was really interesting with both a cultural background and type of art that I’m not too familiar with. It contained some very strong characters, some I loved and some I hated – but in the good way that keeps you invested. The writing style is amazing too with some of the most vibrant descriptions and metaphors I’ve ever seen. The book is written in verse, which is something I have grown to love, but this was more on the lyrical/poetic side as opposed to e.g. ONE or The Crossover and I flew through the content. It’s a quick read but even so I think it could have been shorter. There’s a bit of a slow paced middle part with very little action but again, since it’s written in verse it doesn’t feel that heavy.

I recommend this book to basically anyone who likes a strong story with compelling characters and a bit of teenage rebellion!

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