Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Teen Tuesday and Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Unabridged audiobook on 3 compact discs. 3.5 hours. Read by the author. HarperAudio, March, 2018. 9781538500231. (Review from audiobook borrowed from public library.)

(This went on our broadcast this morning)Teen Tuesday features The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Sixteen-year-old Xiomara Batista tries to follow her mother’s strict rules; but at six-feet tall, it’s hard to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. She has learned to fight with her fists and pours her heart out in a leather notebook her twin brother gave her for their birthday. Sophomore year brings X a language arts teacher who sees the poet in her and Aman, her biology lab partner with whom she shares her love of music and whom her mother must never know about. This debut is gritty and raw. Readers will root for X as she struggles to find her voice.

Review: The Poet X is one impressive debut! I loved X's voice from the first line. I also loved the author's performance. My heart ached for Xiomara, who is up against a lot - the catcalls and leers her curves elicit in her Harlem neighborhood and at school and her religious mother's assumption that she will succumb to those catcalls, all the while yearning for an education that will get her out of Harlem. She loves her twin fiercely but is upset that he doesn't stand up for himself against the bullying his gentle, nerdy self attracts. She's also a tad jealous that he's smart enough for a fancy magnet school that puts him that much closer to escape. X is fierce but caves to the discipline of her mother. She's a nuanced and complicated teen whom readers will relate to as she comes of age.

Not to be missed for teen collections.

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