Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Books in Verse
Number of Pages: 368
This is one of the best books in verse I’ve ever read. Often in the world of YA fiction a book being written in ‘verse’ seems like little more than a formatting decision, but Elizabeth Acevedo really delivered here. Told with rich, energetic language, The Poet X is about a teenage girl named Xiomara who’s the victim of her deeply religious mother’s internalized sexism.
Xiomara physically developed early and she warned by her mom ‘not to let her body get her in trouble,’ as well as being the target of unwanted advances by boys and men. Xiomara has never been allowed to think that her voice matters, but when she develops a passion for poetry it’s the perfect outlet for all the anger and confusion she’s been feeling.
While falling in love for the first time, trying to protect her gay twin brother from bullies, and hiding this assertive new side of herself from her mom, Xiomara begins to conceive of a future that’s her own. I personally think this book could have done without the heavy romance angle, but that’s obviously a big thing in YA that’s highly in demand.
I loved Xiomara’s character, the author made her feel so real and I rooted for her throughout the entire book. I couldn’t stand her mother but even though Acevedo didn’t make excuses for her actions, she did do a good job showing how somebody end up with such a twisted belief system. She wasn’t a caricature of an abusive parent but I hated how she treated her daughter. This book was an emotional rollercoaster and I was sad to say goodbye to the protagonist at the end.
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