**A massive thanks to HarperCollins International for giving me the opportunity to organize this blog tour and for providing us ARCs and eARCs. These, by any means did not affect nor influence my thoughts about this book.**
Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publishing Date: March 6th, 2018
Number of Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, PoetryA 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.
“We’re different, this poet and I. In looks, in body, in background. But I don’t feel so different when I listen to her. I feel heard.”
This is easily one of my best reads of 2018. I’m honestly not sure how to start because I feel like this book just knocked me off my feet because of the slam of its words that I just couldn’t get back up.
The moment I’ve read the first chapter, I instantly felt the power of Elizabeth Acevedo’s words. It felt so powerful, meaningful and raw. I felt that there will be no holding back in this book. And I was right, Acevedo poured her heart and soul in this and never ever once held back until the end.
The first thing I fell in love with in this book was Xiomara. She is strong, independent and tough but deep inside she is passionate, thoughtful and loving. She has a strong voice. She felt so real. And I connected to her in such a deep level. She made me feel heard and understood. She’s the typical teenager who is questioning most of the thing around her and still finding her place and importance in this world. I also did not just see her as a fictional character. I saw her as a girl, as a Latina and as a poet.
Acevedo wrote a character-driven story without making the plot suffer. Never have I ever got bored and complained about anything about the story. And even though things leading up to the end felt suddenly fast, it was still great.
The Poet X is an important read. It tackles important issues or topics including but not limited to gender roles, sexualization, societal expectations, religion, homophobia, body shaming, and parenting and see all of these through the point of view of a teenager who’s still figuring things out about herself made this book so timely and necessary for readers especially teens like me.
This is also one of the very few YA books that asks question about religion and faith that some teenagers in real life also asks, but isn’t being listened to. Despite we’ve seen Xiomara having questions with regard to her religion and the church, we eventually went to a conclusion that I wasn’t really expecting. And I think that’s so beautiful. I felt like that conclusion wasn’t just for Xiomara but for me as well. I just couldn’t think of any other better way of drawing conclusion to that than what Acevedo did.
Elizabeth Acevedo is definitely now one of my go-to authors. This made me admire her so much, not just as a writer, but as a poet and as a woman.
Overall, I love everything in this book. This is book should be studied in school, the book that should be in the hands of young readers. If you’re finding a book that is powerful, meaningful, boundless, will introduce you to other culture, tackles important issues, about a poet, and about finding your voice, I highly recommend The Poet X!
Author Guest Post
Hi, friends! I am so excited to say that today, I also have Elizabeth Acevedo herself on the blog! 🥳
Do you want to know who are the poets that influence Elizabeth Acevedo?
Read what she wrote below to find out!
Poets I’m Influenced By
written by Elizabeth Acevedo
This poet has been so important in my life; she’s a fantastic writer and so generous even though her writing is quite spare. She really made me realize poetry can be simple, and short, and still contain worlds. I read one of her most famous poems, won’t you celebrate with me when I was a teenager and it was so powerful for that moment in my life. The last lines read:
won’t you celebrate with me/that everyday/something has tried to kill me/and has failed.”
Natalie Diaz is a contemporary poet that has had a big influence on my writing. Her poetry is exploratory and asks big questions about the utility of language, how to navigate familial relationships, and what it means to write about joy and love. Through the use of mythic symbolism pulling from Greek and Aztec mythology, as well as her own experience growing up on a tribal reservation in the United States, Diaz fills entwines her work with vivid imagery and narrative that keeps a reader poring over every word.
Through heartbreakingly lovely prose and poetry, Woodson depicts home, family, friendship, loss. She shows the many prism-like facets of being a girl and the light that women can pour into one another. Her depictions of women and their sisterhood is nuanced and speaks so clearly to the effects that rape culture, dysfunction in the family, racism, and a loss of self-determination can have on the psyche of a girl. Woodson allows readers in her gripping writing has helped me learn what it means to write with precision and brevity but make every word count.
Ewing’s poetry, fiction, and essays are wondrous, real, moving. In the vein of Octavia Butler and Gwendolyn Brooks, Ewing does an incredible job of writing work that is playful and magical while contemplating heavy subject matters like prejudice, beauty norms, and social justice. Her work makes me laugh out loud and ugly cry. She makes me increasingly question what it means to have someone see themselves in experiences potentially different than their own.
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.
Find her on:
February 26 Afire Pages – Review & Author Guest Post: “Poets I’m Influenced By”
February 27 In Tori Lex | Review
February 28 Life of A Simple Reader | Review
March 1 Stay Bookish | Review & Art
March 2 The Clockwork Bibliophile | Review & Book Look
March 5 Pretty Little Memoirs | Excerpt
March 6 Through Prose Tinted Pages | Review & Playlist
March 7 That Bookshelf Bitch | Review
March 8 A Book and a Cup of Coffee | Review & On Latinx Rep In YA
March 9 Book Huntress’ World | Review
March 12 WOC Reads | Review & Author Q&A
March 13 Descendant of Poseidon Reads | Review
March 14 Dani Review Things | Review & Top 3 Favorite Elizabeth Acevedo Performance
March 15 The Cursed Books | Review & Mood Board
March 16 Book Freak Revelations | Review
This giveaway is sponsored by HarperCollins International. It runs from February 26th to March 26th. No purchase necessary. The winner must reply to email within 48 hours. Open internationally.
Have you read The Poet X? What’s your favorite novel in verse? Are you a fan of slam poetry? Who are your favorite poets? What’s your favorite book with Latinx rep? Could you share one of your favorite slam performance? Share your thoughts below!