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Cover for The Poet X

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo


List Price: 18.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/5/2018)
Paperback (4/7/2020)
Paperback, Spanish (9/30/2019)
Library Binding, Large Print (5/29/2019)
Compact Disc (3/6/2018)
MP3 CD (3/6/2018)
Compact Disc (3/6/2018)

Summer 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List

“This book is a great coming-of-age story for any teenage girl. A collection of poems make it a quick and thoughtful read. Xiomara is a Dominican girl living in the city, getting used to her changing body and attention from her lab partner, and wrestling with ideas of right and wrong. Her ideas of right and wrong are completely different from her highly religious mother’s. Her poems are her freedom, but how can you be free when home makes you feel trapped?”
— Lulu Roush, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR
View the List


Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award!

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

“Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice.” —Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation

“An incredibly potent debut.” Jason Reynolds, author of the National Book Award Finalist Ghost

“Acevedo has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero.” Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street

Praise For The Poet X

“The force and intensity behind her words practically pushes them off the page, resulting in a verse novel that is felt as much as it is heard. This is a book from the heart, and for the heart.” — New York Times Book Review

“A story that will slam the power of poetry and love back into your heart.” — Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Chains

“Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice. Every poem in this stunningly addictive and deliciously rhythmic verse novel begs to be read aloud.  Xiomara is a protagonist who readers will cheer for at every turn. As X might say, Acevedo’s got bars. Don’t pass this one by.” — Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation

In The Poet X, Acevedo skillfully sculpts powerful, self-contained poems into a masterpiece of a story, and has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero.”Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street

“Though vivid with detail about family, love, and culture, The Poet X is more of an exploration of when the poet becomes the poem... Acevedo delivers an incredibly potent debut.”Jason Reynolds, author of National Book Award Finalist Ghost

“A glorious achievement. This is a story about what it means to be a writer and how to survive when it feels like the whole world’s turned against you.” — Daniel José Older, author of the Shadowshaper Cypher series

“A powerful, heartwarming tale of a girl not afraid to reach out and figure out her place in the world.” — Booklist

★ “Themes as diverse as growing up first-generation American, Latinx culture, sizeism, music, burgeoning sexuality, and the power of the written and spoken word are all explored with nuance. Poignant and real, beautiful and intense.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ “Debut novelist Acevedo’s free verse gives Xiomara’s coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, its emotionally charged bluntness reflecting her determination and strength. At its heart, this is a complex and sometimes painful exploration of love in its many forms, with Xiomara’s growing love for herself reigning supreme.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

★ “In nearly every poem, there is at least one universal truth about adolescence, family, gender, race, religion, or sexuality that will have readers either nodding in grateful acknowledgment or blinking away tears.” — Horn Book (starred review)

★ “The Poet X is beautiful and true—a splendid debut.” — Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Acevedo plays with language, form, and space in a way that commands attention, pulling readers from one emotional extreme to the next without pause or remorse... Readers will applaud Xiomara as she journeys from a place of cautious defensiveness to being confident in the power of her voice.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

★ “Acevedo’s poetry is skillfully and gorgeously crafted, each verse can be savored on its own, but together they create a portrait of a young poet sure to resonate with readers long after the book’s end.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

The Poet X is beautiful and true—a splendid debut.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

Quill Tree Books, 9780062662804, 368pp.

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

About the Author

Elizabeth Acevedo is the author of The Poet X—which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award—as well as With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land. She is a National Poetry Slam champion and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo lives with her partner in Washington, DC. You can find out more about her at

Conversation Starters from


1. How does Xiomara reckon with her own silence? Have you ever felt silenced? Why or why not?

2. What does it mean to “hold a poem in the body”? Do you think you have words living inside of you? What words are they?

3. What are the rules, implicit and explicit, that Xiomara identifies her mother having for her? Are they different than rules her mother sets for other people? Why or why not?

4. How does Xiomara feel about her brother being gay? How does she think her silence affects Twin? Have you ever stayed silent and wished you hadn’t? How can you speak up in your own life?

5. How does silence protect Xiomara? How does Xiomara’s silence harm the people she is closest to? How do her words free her?


1. What is it about writing that makes Xiomara feel brave?

2. How does Xiomara’s relationship with writing change her relationship with her mother over the course of the novel? Why do you think her writing affects her relationship with her mother? What about church and spirituality—how does X compare and contrast religion (prayer) and poetry?


1. What is it about writing that makes Xiomara feel brave?

2. Why does Xiomara feel as though “[her] words are okay” when she is in Ms. Galiano’s class, but not when she is with other people or in other places (p. 264)? Do you have a place where your words feel more or less safe? What makes a person or a place feel safe?

3. Have you ever heard a poem or song or seen a movie that made you feel seen?

4. Why does Xiomara call poetry club a prayer circle? Do you think that writing can be healing? Do you think art can be healing?