The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

fiction Poetry Young Adult
emotional reflective medium-paced

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A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

What the community thinks

summary of 2828 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

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Emotional abuse (4 reviewers), Child abuse (3 reviewers), Misogyny (2 reviewers), Body shaming (2 reviewers), Domestic abuse (2 reviewers), Religious bigotry (1 reviewer), Toxic relationship (1 reviewer), Sexism (1 reviewer), and Physical abuse (1 reviewer)


Body shaming (5 reviewers), Sexual assault (3 reviewers), Sexism (3 reviewers), Emotional abuse (3 reviewers), Racism (2 reviewers), Physical abuse (2 reviewers), Homophobia (1 reviewer), Misogyny (1 reviewer), and Sexual content (1 reviewer)


Homophobia (3 reviewers), Cursing (2 reviewers), Drug use (2 reviewers), Infertility (1 reviewer), Sexual assault (1 reviewer), Sexism (1 reviewer), Infidelity (1 reviewer), and Body shaming (1 reviewer)


emotional 93%
inspiring 66%
reflective 59%
hopeful 50%
challenging 20%
sad 18%
tense 14%
funny 9%
dark 5%
lighthearted 3%
informative 2%
adventurous 1%
relaxing 1%


fast 61%
medium 35%
slow 2%

Strong character development?

Yes: 94% | It's complicated: 3% | No: 1% | N/A: 0%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 84% | It's complicated: 12% | N/A: 1% | No: 1%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 97% | It's complicated: 0% | N/A: 0% | No: 0%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 73% | It's complicated: 18% | No: 6% | N/A: 1%

Average rating


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