“Burn it! Burn it. This is where the poems are,” I say, thumping a fist against my chest. “Will you burn me? Will you burn me, too?”
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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
tw: homophobia, slut-shaming, body shaming, parental abuse
First, I need to thank my book twinny, Amanda, over at Classy x Book Reviews for yelling at me to pick this up everyday until I did. I shouldn’t even be surprised that we both adored this book since we basically love anything that makes us want to scream and cry. Make sure you check out here review HERE. Second, when, not if you’re going to read this (because y’all absolutely need this on your TBR’s) you 100% need to listen to the audiobook for a few reasons. Besides that it’s a quick listen the narrator of the audiobook is the author and when you hear the power in her voice, reciting the words she wrote as an escape from her reality it will seriously gut you and make this so much more powerful. And who doesn’t want to be gutted by a book?
The Poet X is coming of age story told through slam poetry about a young girl named Xiomara. She struggles to understand her mother’s blind faith in her religion, her relationship with society, boys, friendships, body acceptance, rape culture, self love, and her identity. She unleashes her uncertainties and doubts in her notebook where she writes some of the most powerful poems that are most likely going to bring you to tears. I think that everyone who reads this no matter what their background story is, what color their skin is, or where they are from can find something that they will be able to relate to in this book.
Here’s the thing, I don’t know too much about writing poetry because I normally don’t enjoy reading poetry, but this? Elizabeth Acevedo is like the Bob Ross of words. I could listen to her all day. She is an absolute master at poetry and my newest auto buy author. If she writes it, I will read it. Bottom line. I’ve never felt so seen by a book before just about being a woman in today’s society, so I can’t even fathom how helpful this book can be for those who come from a home similar to Xiomara’s.
“Maybe, the only thing that has to make sense
about being somebody’s friend
is that you help them be their best self
on any given day. That you give them a home
when they don’t want to be in their own.”
“My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews wearing pretty florals and a soft smile. They got combat boots and a mouth silent until it’s sharp as an island machete.”
“I will never let anyone see my full heart and destroy it.”
All in all, this is an extremely powerful read about finding yourself and your voice in a world that wants you to stay silent. I’m so thankful to Amanda for recommending this book to me because it’s one of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time. You best believe I am eagerly awaiting the authors next novel With the Fire on High which hits shelves next month!
Until next time,