You know what I realized? It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and this book and the next book that I will review were written by Latinas! How awesome is that? Anyway, I’m back with a new book review. This time, I read The Poet X, a YA contemporary story about a girl finding her voice. I’ve always been excited about this book. I’ve had it for over two years now and I truly cannot believe that it has taken me this long to read it. I read With the Fire On High, another book by the Afro-Dominican author, Elizabeth Acevedo after I bought this one. They were both easy reads and I honestly recently picked this book up during a reading slump (I was reading a different book that I was not enjoying, see my review of it here).
What did I think of this debut novel written in verse? Read on to find out!
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.
This was amazing. I loved it. The poetry. Her struggles with her mom. Her trying to figure out who she was. It brought to mind my upbringing as well as my friend’s relationship with her mom and God. In a way, Xiomara reminded me of her because they had similar struggles with God and her own mom. I know personally for me, my relationship with my grandma was rocky. In recent years, things have gotten better but to be honest, I’m not comfortable coming to her for things because well, she didn’t make it easy for me growing up to feel comfortable. I stayed to myself at home and was locked in my room. I always did what I was told and did I have crushes? Yes but we all know my problem (no one was interested in me). That didn’t stop my grandma from assuming the worst if I came home after 7 or if I went to a friend’s house. In her mind I was sneaking around with boys.
I was too scared to share my true feelings. Xiomara found her outlet through poetry. Mine? I found my outlet through stories. I saw myself in Xiomara and that made me love the book more! It’s also written in verse which makes this super cool!
Xiomara trying to figure out her relationship with God. Some of it made me uncomfortable to read because God is my lifeline but it wasn’t always like this for me and I assumed the same for Xiomara, which I was correct. She had to find him for herself and no matter where the road took her, she was on the right path. She also had to deal with the relationship of her body itself. She was voluptuous and people made up their minds about her based on how her body was shaped. They assumed she was promiscuous all because she had hips and breast. That could not have been further from the truth. She had very little sexual experience. Was she a curious teenage girl? Yes, I mean who wasn’t a curious teen dealing with hormones?
It really sucks that just because she was well developed, she was looked at as a sexual object. How many girls do we know that that has happened to? We really have to protect young girls from the wrong eyes. Although to be honest, I think we need to teach boys not to think of women as sexual objects and teach them not to be rapist (not that she was raped) and consent.
This was great!!!!! I really loved it the end really had me smiling.
I gave this book a 5/5 rating. Fantastic!
What book should I read next?