I want to thank HarperCollins International for sending me this copy of The Poet X and Karina @Afire Pages for including me in this amazing blog tour!
Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Poetry
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.
Trigger Warnings : slut shaming, sexism, sexual assault, parental physical and emotional abuse, homophobia, panic attack.
The Poet X left me in a miserable book-slump, I couldn’t read anything else for a few days because all I wanted to do was re-read Xiomara’s tale. I’m not going to lie, it was a truly raw story. I felt every bit of anger Xiomara felt, every bit of sadness, every bit of happiness and I have to applaud the author for being able to write so passionately and aspiring such strong emotions.
The Poet X is a tale told through poems, it’s powerful and it’s something that I needed to read because the book had everything. It had a great twin bond, complex familial relations, a positive female friendship, a sweet romance and a protagonist that didn’t shy away from asking all the difficult questions.
This book dealt with so many important subjects varying from sexuality to religion to body positivity to feminism to parental expectations. And I adored every bit of it, you know how much I love books that challenge my train of thoughts, that make me think. I can easily say that this book was one of them. I’m going to discuss some bits of the plot and tell you what I loved the most.
I believe in God and I’m not ashamed to say it. But I consider myself to be very critically about everything, including religion. So, when Xiomara started asking questions about the women’s condition as religion sees it, I felt so happy because I’ve asked myself those questions countless of time and it was nice to see them on page. I love how she doesn’t give up entirely on religion even though she doesn’t agree with some beliefs. I really adored everything about this aspect of the plot because as I mentioned in other reviews of mine, I don’t think religion gets enough attention in YA lit, so it was a relief to see it explored so deeply in The Poet X.
Struggles with meeting your parents’ expectations
This one was a huge theme through the book because the protagonist’s mom puts her through a lot of pressure because of how she wants her to be, to behave. Her mom kind of tries to live through Xiomara, she wants her daughter to be what she couldn’t achieve. And it was very painful to see the main character struggle between who she wanted to be and who everyone else expected her to be.
Twins, twins, twins
I seem to be a magnet for books that have twins in them.
I loved how Xiomara was the protector of her twin, I loved how tough she was, how she was ready to fight everyone and anyone just to keep Twin (as she calls him) safe. I loved their relationship, it was very pure.
Body positivity + feminist themes
Xiomara was very body positive, she wanted to show off her body, she wanted to be able to wear sexy clothes (without being ogled at). I loved how the poems were very honest, especially when it came to Xiomara’s experience as a girl. There were some poems on double standards that I adored so much, I can’t wait for all of you to read them.
I will be honest about this. I’m so and so about the romance, but I feel like it wasn’t a main focus of the book, anyway. There were so many other things overshadowing it.
I feel like this book has such a great message, especially about following your dreams and never giving up on them and knowing you’re the most important person for yourself and you can’t let yourself down. It was amazing. As I’m writing this, I keep on thinking about the book and I already miss it, I wish I was reading it again.
I absolutely recommend this book if you love poetry, complex characters and relationships, powerful writing and books that stay with you.
Now, I’ve tried to make a mood-board for this book and here it is :
You can win this book by entering this link : Rafflecopter Giveaway
The giveaway is international as stated above (can you hear me screaming because I’m happy everyone is getting a chance to win this amazing book), anyway make sure to enter this for the chance to win a physical copy of The Poet X.
ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.