Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
This is a powerful book about finding your voice in a world that wants you to be quiet, and finding your path in a family that expects you obey and conform. The story of a poet discovering the power of her words is written in verse, each section delivering a glimpse of the narrator’s life – her relationship with her mother, her rebellion against her religious upbringing, her forbidden friendship with a boy from school. The verses are raw, punching home the desperation of the unread poet, and the speaker without a voice.
Like The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, or On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, this is a book about finding yourself, and finding a way to express who you are, whatever the people around you expect. Xiomara, the narrator, writes in secret about her life and her dreams. She can’t let her family know about her poems, and she has no way to share them, until her English teacher invites her to join the Poetry Club at school. She has to lie to her mother about where she is – she’s supposed to be at her confirmation class at church – but through Poetry Club she discovers spoken word, open mic nights, and performance poets. She finds her voice.
This is a book about heartbreak and recovery, about holding on and letting go, about fighting expectations and demanding to be heard. It’s about family, friendships, and fighting for the things – and the people – you love. It’s gritty and cruel and real. It’s a tough journey with an uplifting message about the power of words, and it’s an inspiring read.
Thank you to NetGalley for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The Poet X? What did you think of Xiomara’s story? Were you inspired by her poetry? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
Review cross-posted to GoodReads.
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