- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen; 1st Edition edition (March 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062662805
- ISBN-13: 978-0062662804
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 190 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Poet X Hardcover – March 6, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Magnificently crafted, Acevedo's bildungsroman in verse is a stunning account of a teen girl's path to poetry. Sophomore Xiomara Batista is simultaneously invisible and hyper visible at home, school, and in her largely Dominican community in Harlem—her body is "unhide-able" she tells readers early on, yet she bristles at how others project their desires, insecurities, failures, patriarchal attitudes toward her. Though she is quick to battle and defend herself and her twin brother Xavier, Xiomara's inner life sensitively grapples with these projections and the expectations of her strict, religious mother. Acevedo's depiction of a faith in crisis is exceedingly relatable and teens, especially those going through the sacrament of Confirmation, will deeply appreciate Xiomara's thoughtful questioning of the Church and how it treats women. Forbidden kisses with a crush and an impromptu performance at an open mic prove to be euphoric, affirming moments for Xiomara: "it's beautiful and real and what I wanted." Acevedo's poetry is skillfully and gorgeously crafted, each verse can be savored on its own, but together they create a portrait of a young poet sure to resonate with readers long after the book's end. VERDICT Truly a "lantern glowing in the dark" for aspiring poets everywhere. All YA collections will want to share and treasure this profoundly moving work.—Della Farrell, School Library Journal
“The force and intensity behind her words practically pushes them off the page, resulting in a verse novel that is felt as much as it is heard. This is a book from the heart, and for the heart.” (New York Times Book Review)
“A story that will slam the power of poetry and love back into your heart.” (Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Chains)
“Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice. Every poem in this stunningly addictive and deliciously rhythmic verse novel begs to be read aloud. Xiomara is a protagonist who readers will cheer for at every turn. As X might say, Acevedo’s got bars. Don’t pass this one by.” (Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation)
“In The Poet X, Acevedo skillfully sculpts powerful, self-contained poems into a masterpiece of a story, and has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero.” (Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street)
“Though vivid with detail about family, love, and culture, The Poet X is more of an exploration of when the poet becomes the poem... Acevedo delivers an incredibly potent debut.” (Jason Reynolds, author of National Book Award Finalist Ghost)
“A glorious achievement. This is a story about what it means to be a writer and how to survive when it feels like the whole world’s turned against you.” (Daniel José Older, author of the Shadowshaper Cypher series)
“A powerful, heartwarming tale of a girl not afraid to reach out and figure out her place in the world.” (Booklist)
★ “Themes as diverse as growing up first-generation American, Latinx culture, sizeism, music, burgeoning sexuality, and the power of the written and spoken word are all explored with nuance. Poignant and real, beautiful and intense.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★ “Debut novelist Acevedo’s free verse gives Xiomara’s coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, its emotionally charged bluntness reflecting her determination and strength. At its heart, this is a complex and sometimes painful exploration of love in its many forms, with Xiomara’s growing love for herself reigning supreme.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
★ “In nearly every poem, there is at least one universal truth about adolescence, family, gender, race, religion, or sexuality that will have readers either nodding in grateful acknowledgment or blinking away tears.” (Horn Book (starred review))
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The formatting of this book is gorgeous. The way the poems are structured on the page tell the story and convey the mood of a scene just as effectively as the words.
The story is conveyed in a deftly succinct, but rich and moving way. The minimal approach to storytelling really makes the character come alive in your mind. I felt at home in Xio’s head, comfortable and able to understand her heart through the language And pacing Acevedo utilizes like a great chef utilizes familiar but perfectly balanced flavor profiles.
If you enjoy great writing and a unique approach to storytelling, you will love this book.
As for my personal experience with The Poet X?
Poetry has always felt like nourishment to my soul, but I’ve never felt it pierce so deeply and so directly into my heart as this book and its narrative poetry managed to do. As a Latin blooded teenager, I felt all wrong in my own body compared to my white friends, and I related to Xio’s discomfort in a lot of ways. While she became tough, I became invisible. My story isn’t like hers, except that I too found comfort in words and writing. I found enough connection to move me to tears by the end of this beautiful, heartfelt story about finding your words. I love this book. It has become an instant favorite. Beautiful and moving and earnest doesn’t even begin to cover it. Anyone who has latinx roots, has ever been a teenage girl, has ever struggled to find our voice, or who has a compassionate, empathetic heart should read this book.
The power behind the lines in this book is undeniable. I felt like tiny hammers were pinging the words into my heart. I read some pages two, three, four...seven times because they were so eloquent, heavy and impactful.
Here’s a favorite stanza from page 340:
“That love can be a band:
tears if you pull it too hard,
but also flexible enough
to stretch around the most chaotic mass.”
Mami and Xiomara’s relationship is so raw and intense, I felt like I was flinching during so many of their scenes together.
So many of the characters complement Xiomara so well...Ms. Galiano, Twin, Caridad, Aman, Father Sean...
This book captures the horrible, painful and metamorphic experience of growing up and magnifies it all with a layer of cultural norms and immigrant narratives. Holy cow.
This is the full package.
BookBlerd's review May 09, 2018 · edit
it was amazing
I've read about a dozen novels in verse since I was a teen. If I could, I'd go back in time and give my teen self this book.
This book is about a Latinx teen girl named Xiomara as she learns to use poetry to cope with questioning her mother's religion & strictness as well as her coming of age. Ms. Acevedo's verses are so amazing that I found myself bookmarking pages or verses that stood out to me. As a poet, I could tell that the author honed her craft well.
Not only were the poems powerful, but the story they told was relatable. Xiomara's experience with religious questioning, a strict mother, sexual harassment from her peers, and poetry were things that made me cheer & ache for her.
It's been a few years since I last read a verse novel, but this is definitely a new favorite. I loved this as both a reader & a poet and I will be using this book to fuel my own poetry in the future.
Xiomara (meaning “One who is ready for war”) is the daughter of two old school Dominican parents. She is often misunderstood and unheard in a home where her mom’s voice rings loudest, casting judgement and laying down the law in the name of religion. With a father who is at once present and absent; there but…”gone as anybody.”
She keeps these notebooks, at least one of which was gifted to her by her brother who’s long believed in Xiomara and has been a source of quiet strength and encouragement. She fills her notebooks with inspirational quotes and her thoughts of which, every now and then she dresses “in the clothing of a poem.”
A flyer hanging in the hallway at school catches Xiomara’s attention, calling out to all poets, rappers, and writers for a Spoken Word Poetry Club. Will she have what it takes? Can she speak up and be seen? Will she find her voice?
The cover is alluring and powerful and colorfully portrays the defining words that are etched into Xiomara’s very being. Those words hidden inside that affirm her and those that are freeing, as well as those that are vying to confine. She is Xiomara, listen to her voice. If you were looking for that book that you wish you’d read as a teenager, this is it. Now as a 40-year-old woman I am thankful for an honest, relevant read. This is one I can give to my daughters. It leaves me brimming with hope for the ways it will speak to its reader. Hats off to Elizabeth Acevedo for this exceptional debut.