How religious are you and how interested were in God as a teen? Our experiences may vary and sometimes our family gets a huge say in these things. There are things that we all have in common and then there are some gaps. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo talks a lot about religion and faith in these lines. Let us get on to my review, shall we?
About the book
Book Name: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Characters: Xiomara and Xavier Batista, Caridad, Aman, Isabelle
With an emotionally distant and a super religious mother, Xiomara Batista, a young teen, feels all alone in her questioning life, religion, on being a woman and her changing body. And boys.
Her Twin brother, who is a closeted queer, seem to know what their parents want and doesn’t have any problem in just doing that. Even if he has to hide things from them. Of course, he doesn’t get picked at by their mother or have so many restrictions as Xio because he was a guy.
Her best friend Caridad, is what Xio’s parents want her to be like. Soft, religious and obedient. But sadly, Xio was born ready to be a fighter, a protector and a spitfire.
Honestly all Xio wants is to be a normal teenager. Wear sexy clothes, meet boys, have a boyfriend, and to be kissed, all of which are forbidden by her religious, controlling and guilt tripping mother.
And Xio has questions. And doesn’t have anyone to help her figure them out. No one except her notebook that she has filled her poetry. Another thing she has to hide from her mother.
What happens when Xio finally finds someone or something where she could just be? Why would her questioning be so frowned upon by the religion. Read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo to know more.
My initial thoughts
Xio is a Dominican, twin, catholic, thick girl and a poet and the author makes sure that she stays true to all the identities – from what I hear. Even if I am not a part of those representations, I could still relate to her and her thought process.
As someone from a “religious but not super religious” family, where guilt tripping, blind faith, sexism and casteism are encouraged, I felt connected to Xio so much that I even forgot that we are not talking about the same religion. I suppose most religions have a lot in common.
Acevedo’s writing, especially the poetry, was so raw and vulnerable that I had to often take my eyes off the book and collect my thoughts, which rarely happens.
If you had not realized it by now, I loved Xio. I wish I were this brave and fierce as a teen myself. And that I was as body positive as she was and I hate that she had to undergo the catcalls, groping, ogling, leering and then be guilt tripped by her mother.
Things that worked for me
- I loved Acevedo’s writing. LOVED.
- Xio’s questions about religion and women are so spot on, that she may have picked them from own teen dairy.
- I love the way the author built real, relatable characters. Xavier, Aman and even Caridad and of course, Xio.
Things that didn’t work for me
I wish I got to know more about Caridad, Xavier and even Aman, for that matter.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a contemporary romance that focuses very less on romance. Written in a verse format The Poet X doesn’t shy away from intense themes like religion, women in religion, puberty, body positivism, and parental control. Good recommendation, even if you are not into Young Adult books.
Let us chat
Have you read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo? What other book have you read in similar lines? Do you read books talks about experiences with religions? Let us talk.