Blurb; A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.
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, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she 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.
My Review; Now I must admit this has been on my pile a while waiting to be read and I am so happy I finally got round to reading it. It is an easy read written in verse. But not just that this is such a powerful, uplifting, brave and inspiring story. I praise this book. A book everyone should read.
The story focuses on Xiomara who is struggling with her strict religious mother and her own forced on religion. She doesn’t want to be silent. She knows what she wants but her mother is there to stop her everytime with her defence of religion and sin. She wants a boyfriend. She want to be part of the poetry group. She doesn’t want religion forced on her. She has so many questions but no answers. Can her mother come to accept her? Can they overcome their differences?
Such a brilliant read. I relate to the religion bit strongly I was young when I was made to go to church, communion etc. Shouldn’t it be a choice and not forced? Xiomara stood up for herself and what she believed in – Poetry. Her poems are just amazing and straight from the heart. I just loved her character and everything she went through and stood up for.
This has gone into my top reads of the year and I’d give it all the stars I could. Highly recommend. I urge you all to buy and read it. Just wow. Amazing. No wonder it’s won an award. Beautiful.