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Summer Reading 2019: The Poet X

Here's why Chris suggests The Poet X...

This book represents a cross-section of identity that I have seen and lived. Reading this book has brought back memories of my Harlem upbringing and I'm interested in seeing what similarities (and differences) you see from your lives in the Bay Area. I'm excited to hear your perspectives on how/why the main character acts in her best interests and how you relate (or not) to her.

About the book

The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Harlem sophomore Xiomara Batista isn’t saintly like her virtuous twin brother. And her tough exterior—she’s always ready to fend off unwelcome advances and unkind words—hides questions and insecurities. As her confirmation nears (after two failed attempts), Xiomara begins to voice her uncertainties about the  Catholic faith and patriarchal piety pressed on her by her mother and the church. Both intrigued and disgusted by the  advances of her peers and older men, she begins a secret relationship with her lab partner Aman, who seems interested in more than her curves (“who knew words,/ when said by the  right person,/ by a boy who raises your temperature,/ moves heat like nothing else?”). Xiomara pours her innermost self into poems and dreams of competing in poetry slams, a passion she’s certain her conservative Dominican parents will never accept. Debut novelist Acevedo’s free verse gives Xiomara’s coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, its emotionally charged bluntness reflecting her determination and strength. At its heart, this is a complex and sometimes painful exploration of love in its many forms, with Xiomara’s growing love for herself reigning supreme. - Publishers Weekly

"Relevant not only to anyone who's ever lusted after the perfect snack...but anyone who's ever felt like an outsider." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A charming memoir...Her prose is engaging, precise, and compact." --The New York Time Book Review

About the reader

  Chris Williams, Assistant Director of Admissions

Chris previously recommended:

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • You Can't Touch My Hair: and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson