The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a coming of age story written in poetic verse. Xiomara Batista attends Catholic high school and forced by her mom to attend catechism classes. Her mom has a very strict idea of what her daughter should be. Boys are definitely off limits. Thus, she pours all her teenage angst into her prized notebook. Also lots of feelings about her classmate named Aman. It’s only when she joins the poetry club does she begin to find her voice. Unfortunately, she has to lie to her mom about it. Her mom thinks she is at church while instead, she prepares for an amateur poetry slam night. Everything comes to a head when her mom eventually uncovers the truth.
I really loved this audiobook, which was narrated by the author. Acevedo squeezes in so many feels into a short read. It was definitely my favorite Mocha Girls Read book club read. The story may follow that familiar coming of age arc, but the journey is so vividly written especially Xiomara’s poetry performance. The mother was painted with such intensity and the confrontation with her daughter brought tears to my eyes. It’s not abnormal for parents and teens do not understand each other, but her mom had such a terrible iron fist over the household. What other choice did Xiomara have but to hide her creativity less it be smashed to pieces by her?
I highly recommend this book for Young Adult book fans looking for a strong female protagonist. Even if you don’t like poetry, I guarantee you’ll like this novel. And it’s such a quick and captivating read. A very worthy recipient of this year’s Young People’s literature National Book Award.
Read more of my reviews on Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.