THE POET X
Slam poet Acevedo’s debut novel is both a beautifully rendered coming-of-age tale and a pulse-pounding collection of poetry that accesses the soul of her heroine in a way far more intimate than any prose could manage. With insight and a deep well of compassion for all the characters in her tale, Acevedo tackles issues from family to feminism, from sexuality to religion, from immigration to high school survival, and does it all with such grace, honesty and confidence that readers of all ages will benefit from the time spent in her world and with the power of her words.
Xiomara Batista’s world isn’t one that encourages her to speak out. Growing up in Harlem with a devoutly religious mother and drug dealers cat-calling her in the street, Xiomara has learned to protect herself with her fists outside, while confining her secret words to her notebook. When she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she knows her mother would never approve. But even though speaking her words out loud for the first time seems terrifying, Xiomara also knows that this is a chance she can’t pass up. (HARPERTEEN, Mar., 368 pp., $17.99, 14 & Up)