The Poet X: A Review

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a Young Adult Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction. It’s written completely in poetry form, which I thought was perfect for National Poetry Month in April. I received my copy in my Page Habit box. It’s not really something I might have picked up on my own, although the format was quite intriguing, and I might have gotten it much later in the year. The book came out in March.
The story follows Xiomara, a 15-year-old girl living in Harlem in the present day. Her family is from the Dominican Republic, but her and her twin brother were born in America. Her mother is a devout Catholic and her father a recovering womanizer who doesn’t speak much. Xiomara has to navigate high school, the neighborhood, her changing body and the remarks from boys and men alike about those changes, as well as her mother’s strict opinions and rules about faith.
I was actually surprised how much faith is the center of this story. Xiomara, in several of the poems, examines her doubt and her struggle with faith and her opinion of God. The line that caught my breath was “God just wants me to behave so I can earn being alive.”
Since the book is mostly written in poetic form, the plot goes pretty quickly. It covers from the end of summer to the beginning of the next spring. So much happens in that timeframe that develops the characters, especially Xiomara and her brother. The book is divided into three parts, and the third part I just breezed through because the plot speeds up and so much of the story really plays out in that last section.

There is profanity in the book, as well as a lot of sexual content. There is one poem about masturbation and several about her relationship with a boy in bio class. The conflict of sexual urges versus waiting to be ready is apparent through most of that relationship.
There are a few moments of violence, but nothing graphic. Xiomara, before she really gets into the poetry, relied on her fists to protect herself and her brother. But that really was more just referenced than spelled out.

I think it might be a good book to read with a mother and daughter. It definitely would spark conversation with the endless pressures young girls deal with in today’s society as well as within the church. I would recommend it, but with the caveats of the profanity and sexual content. But the ending of the book is so beautiful. Flawed, but completely beautiful, which is why I give it four stars and a recommendation.

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Page Habit Review

My fascination with subscription boxes continues.  Instead of a food box, this time I asked for a book subscription box from Michael for Easter called Page Habit.

There are so many book subscription boxes to choose from.  There are ones that only send books for you to choose.  And there are several that have bookish items that sometimes follow a theme and sometimes do not.  Each box has a kind of gimmick to it.

Page Habit has two “gimmicks,” if you will.  First, with each box, they donate towards children’s literacy.  In my particular box, Page habit partnered with Books for Africa to donate books to the Kiangua community in Kenya.  They gave a little information about the area’s statistics.20180411_152611

The other “gimmick” that Page Habit has is that the book in the box is annotated with small notes from the author.  So, as you read through the book, there will be these little notes on certain pages that tell you what the author felt while writing that particular piece of the story (all of the annotations are put on post-it notes so your book is not actually written in unless you want to write in it).  Also, the book is going to be one that has come out recently.

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In this box, I received the book The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, a YA contemporary written entirely in poetic form that was released in March.  I really liked this kind of storytelling, and it was perfect to read this month since it’s National Poetry Month.  I will probably have a review on my blog at some point in the future.

But that’s not all that it’s the box.  There were several other items included.  A letter from the author.  A pad of adult coloring pages.  A cable photo hanger.  A bookworm beanie.  Stickers.  And a Page Habit bookmark.  I was impressed with the selection of items as well as the quality.  The only item I wasn’t really interested in was the collection on stickers, but the rest I’m definitely going to use.

I got the YA box, but they have other genres as well – literary fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, romance and historical fiction.  They also have quarterly boxes for YA (young adult), literary fiction and cookbooks.  The monthly boxes are $30.  If you want to try it yourself, you can use this link.   It is a subscription service, so it signs you up to automatically get one each month, but just like Hello Fresh, you can skip months that don’t pique your interest, and you can change genres if you like.  You get an email before the next box comes out describing the next book.  They don’t tell you what the title is, so the surprise isn’t ruined.

I really liked that there is a cause behind this box, plus the annotated book is a plus as well.  And it’s a neat way to be introduced to books you might not have heard of or may not have picked up.  It’s a definite recommend from me!