The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Fifteen-year-old Xiomara is a Dominican American teen living in Harlem. Her twin... read more

Fifteen-year-old Xiomara is a Dominican American teen living in Harlem. Her twin brother, Xavier, a smart, gentle boy, can do no wrong in their mother’s eyes. Xiomara can do no right. She often feels unseen and misunderstood, even by Xavier, despite the fact she has always defended him, whether from bullies or from their mother’s judgment by keeping his secret that he’s gay. Xiomara is intrigued by the new poetry club at school, and by Aman, a boy she meets in biology class. Her mother forbids dating, however, and insists Xiomara attend Catholic confirmation classes, which are the same afternoon as the club. But she and Aman connect over music. He sees her, not her developing body which often draws unwanted attention, and he becomes the first person she shares one of her poems with as their secret, out-of-school friendship blossoms into romance. There is an intense emotional arc to this electrifying novel in poems showcasing the emergence of a gifted writer. As Xiomara faces her mother’s scorn, questions her faith, and deals with complications of friendship and romance, her journey is heart-wrenching. Her triumph comes in daring and then demanding to be seen, asserting her voice within and beyond her family and claiming her identity as a poet. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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