‘The Poet X’ inspiring coming-of-age story

Famous slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo released her debut young adult novel “The Poet X” on March 6, 2018. 

This book is a story made of different types of poems about a 15-year-old girl named Xiomara and her journey of dealing with her Mami’s religion and Xiomara’s relationships with others. Throughout the entire book, Xiomara struggles with connecting with her Mami, brother whom she calls “Twin,” boys, and the world around her. 

Ever since she was little, Xiomara was more developed than her peers, resulting in unwanted attention. This causes a distance between her and her Mami, as Mami feels that Xiomara is a deviate due to her looks and attention she receives. 

Xiomara’s father is distant from both his kids due to never interacting with them. He was a so-called “womanizer,” which causes many fights with his wife because of her religion. 

Xiomara is closest to her twin brother who she only ever refers to as Twin. This is to ingrain the idea that they will always be a pair, despite the fact that he goes to a different and more private school for genius kids. Xiomara feels the need to protect her brother from the outside world, which proves itself to be difficult even though they share the same room. 

She feels outcasted and unheard by everyone around her, and the only way to positively let out her thoughts and feelings is through writing. One day Xiomara learns about a Poetry Club at her school, and for some unknown reason finds herself longing to join, but there’s a problem. It’s on the same day of her confirmation class at her church. If she quits, her Mami would flip, but she can’t help but wish to be a part of the club. 

Religion is everything to her Mami; she even once wanted to become a nun. On the other hand, Xiomara is tormented by questions about God and is skeptical about her Mami’s intense views. 

This novel is instrumental in Latina literature and the poetry community. Acevedo is a master at picking all of the correct words in order to move her readers. The jokes Acevedo includes pull in the reader and the story, and incredible characters keep them there. 

Since Acevedo’s novel was published, it has won various awards such as the Carnegie Medal, National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and Golden Kite Award for Young Adult Fiction. It has also been nominated for  Goodreads Choice Awards Best Poetry and MORE.

There are videos online of Acevedo reading out all of the poems in her novel in the slam poetry style, which have received much applause and appreciation.

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