Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary: Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight.

Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.
This book randomly showed up for review one day and I'm shocked by how much I enjoyed it. Novels told in verse are usually not my kind of thing at all -- if I find out a novel is in verse, it's usually one of my deal breakers that pushes a book from my Want To Read to my Nope list.

But this one...the fact that it was in verse just worked. It didn't feel like the book was less because it was told in verse, it felt like more and like no other written format would've made as much sense for this story and this character. Like poetry was Xiomara's voice and anything else wouldn't have felt as genuine for her.

I struggled to put the book down once I got into it. It's definitely more of a character driven story than plot driven, but that worked out too because I loved the characters. It takes real talent to show such complex family dynamics in so few words but Elizabeth Acevedo managed it perfectly and she had me hooked on her words and the lives of these characters. I kept telling myself just one more poem over and over until I'd reached the last one.

I don't know what it's like to be a woman of colour. I don't know what it's like to grow up with strict religious parents. I don't know what it's like to grow up and find myself questioning the religion I'd been brought up with. I don't know what it's like to have a twin.

Basically, that's the case for so much of what this book was about: I can relate to some things, but for a lot of it, I just don't know what it's like. And reading this doesn't change that--it's not for me, I'm not supposed to see myself reflected perfectly in these characters--but it did give me a glimpse into lives so different from my own and hopefully made me a bit less ignorant and helped me understand some things a bit better.

And hopefully it'll be much needed representation for the teenagers who do know what it's like to be like Xiomara or her brother or to grow up in a family just like theirs.

I'd rate the book 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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