The poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Hardie Grant Egmont, 2018. ISBN 9781405291460
(Age: Older teens) Highly recommended. Verse novel. The Poet X is a novel which grabs a reader by the heart and transports them into another world. Poet X takes us on an emotional, heart-rending journey through a tumultuous time in her young life and every moment of joy, agony and discovery, is powerfully communicated through her unique mix of prose and poetry. The other players in her life are finely drawn and authentically portrayed; Mami is truly formidable and Twin, in contrast, is sensitive and loving; Ms Galiano is the caring English teacher we all wish we had in our lives and Caridad is the perfect friend, critical when it counts but supportive when it's needed most. But best of all, Xiomara, affectionately dubbed Poet X by the adoring Aman, is passionate, feisty and strong in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles (her Mami), it's impossible not to fall in love with her. Transfixed by the power and magic of her words, the reader can only cheer her on as she strives to find her voice and empathise with her very real, adolescent struggles.
I loved this book. While at first I was apprehensive about its 'verse novel' nature, it wasn't long before I was totally hooked by Elizabeth Acevedo's protagonist and her gorgeously articulated story. Every page offered a new lyrical adventure and there were times when my heart alternately burst with love or was gripped by anxiety and shared pain. Acevedo's way with words is magical and addictive. Teenage and adult readers alike will be mesmerised by the power of the language and the desire to devour just one more delicious page . . .
I would highly recommend this book to older teenage readers. It shares its place with other 'coming-of-age' novels but for me was a much more candid, intense and genuine portrayal of very real, contemporary issues than some.