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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

By Susan Funnell, Ash Flat Library Manager

This book was a surprisingly good read for me, for two reasons, one it is self–contained poems that have been sculpted into a book (I don’t necessarily care for poetry), and second it is a Young Adult book.

This book is about a young girl living in Harlem named Xiomara Batista, although she goes by X. She learns about slam poetry, which is a form of performance poetry that combines the elements of performance, writing, competition, and audience participation.  The slam poetry is a way to help her to understand and cope with her own life and her mother’s religion.

Xiomara, since becoming a young girl with all the right curves and discovering who she is becoming, has learned to use her words instead of her fists to express her thoughts and emotions.

She keeps a journal where she writes about all her passions and emotions as she experiences them. X meets a boy in her biology class named Aman. They become very close, but her family is to never know about him. X’s mother is very religious and wants Xiomara to obey the rules of the church. So, Xiomara writes in her journal where she can keep her thoughts to herself.

Xiomara’s teacher is wanting her to join the school’s slam poetry club, but she doesn’t think she would ever be able to get away it without her mother finding out, plus she doesn’t think she is good enough. But, because her words and her thoughts and emotions are so powerful, she doesn’t think she can keep them to herself either!

The author, Elizabeth Acevedo, was a National Poetry Slam Champion. She is of Dominican descent. She holds a BA in performing arts from George Washington University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. This is her debut novel.

Young Adult books are becoming increasingly popular with adults. We have a new YA section in the Ash Flat Library, so come check out what our new section has to offer.

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