“The summer is made for stoop-sitting
and since it’s the last week before school starts,
Harlem is opening its eyes to September (The Poet X, Sentence 1)”.
Evergreen Synopsis: “Curvaceous sixteen-year-old Xiomara Batista discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her fiercely religious mother’s view of women, as well as her relationship to a world dominated by rape-culture.”
I’m so glad I read this book! I’ve been hearing about this book for AGES, and it definitely lives up to the hype. This book won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, AND the Pura Belpre Award. This book is FIERCE and HONEST, just like Xiomara.
What I like most about Xiomara is her fight to stand up for herself. From slamming guys into lockers to cutting down basketball players with a pointed question, Xiomara takes no nonsense. As a high school wallflower, I am looking back with more than a little more relief that I didn’t have to defend myself the way Xiomara always had to. In the wake of the #Metoo movement, I know that so many girls have to navigate these types of situations.
The major tension/conflict in the book is between Xiomara and her mother. Xiomara’s mother isn’t the WORST mother in a book that I’ve read, but she definitely has some mom from Carrie tendencies that keep her from winning mother of the year. Altagracia Batista (Mami) was headed to the convent when her family sent her to become a wife instead (and Xiomara’s impression is that she’s still resentful of the fact). There are a few scenes that are especially hard, so be prepared for volatile situations between Xiomara and her mother.
Since this book is written in verse, I’m going to do something I never do: I’m recommending that you not only listen to the audio version because it’s read by the author and is FANTASTIC, but also to read the physical book because written poetry has it’s own beauty.
Similar authors include: Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Gabby Rivera. Read this book if you like: The Hate U Give, Gabby: A Girl in Pieces, or I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.