The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo is about a young girl named Xiomara who lives in a very religious neighborhood, where everyone goes to church and reads the Bible. Her mother especially is a very strict and devoted Christian, who makes sure both her children follow the traditions and rules of God. However, Xiomara wants to go past those boundaries and be who she wants to be, but due to her body and her mother’s religious atmosphere, she’s forced to shut herself out.
To be honest, no one should judge anyone for how they look, especially their body. Xiomara is also very brave and stands up to people who do judge her, and I think that’s one of the things that I really like about her character. Furthermore, she enjoys writing poems about how she feels in her leather notebook, that her twin brother gave her. Writing helps her express her thoughts and feelings, especially in her poems. On Xiomara’s first day of tenth grade, she meets a boy named Aman, with who she later falls in love with. Even though she’s breaking the rules of her religion, by going out with him, she doesn’t care because with Aman, she doesn’t feel so trapped inside her own home and is glad to have someone new to talk to. I didn’t like how Xiomara was just doing whatever she wanted, without actually thinking about how what’s right and what’s wrong. I feel like she’s just doing all this because she wants to escape from her home, escape from her mom.
Xiomara shares her poems with Aman, and he really enjoys reading them, telling her that she should definitely share them with others and express her beautiful talent. I really love Aman, because he’s such a supportive, kind, and amazing friend towards Xiomara, and wants to understand what she’s going through, and is willing to do whatever he can for her. Xiomara is afraid to share her poems with the world because sooner or later her mother will find out, and get extremely angry. Nonetheless, someone that went to the same church as Xiomara’s mother, had witnessed Xiomara with a boy. To make things worse, her mother had also found the notebook with all of her writing inside. When she came home, her mother was extremely infuriated and burned her notebook due to how her daughter had disobeyed her. Honestly, I really didn’t like how the mother just burned the notebook like that, without even questioning her daughter’s actions, and it made me feel really bad for Xiomara because that notebook was basically her outlet.
After all the chaos between mother and daughter, Xiomara signed up to say her poem onstage in front of a bunch of people. Her family including her mother, Aman, and her friend came to her to say her poem. This part was one of my favorites because she’s finally putting her work out there, and being herself, and showing her true colors. Throughout the story, there was so much character development for Xiomara, and I love how she grew into this whole new person, standing up for who she truly is and wants to be. Lastly, my least favorite part was when her mother apologized to her for being so strict and not letting her do what she wants. The mother also had a huge character development, which I absolutely loved, and it also created a beautiful mother-daughter moment. In conclusion, it was an empowering, beautiful, loving, and wonderful book overall, and I definitely recommend it.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.