Posts By: Rashika

Thursday, March 08, 2018

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Contemporary, Verse, YA
Publication date: March 6th, 2018
by HarperTeen

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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.
-A copy was provided by HarperTeen for review-

I am a finnick-y asshole when it comes to rating books 5 stars which isn’t necessarily because I don’t love books but I want to reserve that 5 stars for a book that is something that I am going to remember for a long time after I close the last page shut. The Poet X is just one of those books you are gonna come out of feeling something. I don’t share the same identities as the main character and yet the way Xiomara navigates her diaspora completely moved me. The way her story was told made me feel seen and validated.

The Poet X is told in verse and yet it tells an overarching story that I am not sure prose could have done justice to. Acevedo is incredibly talented to say the least and her poetry is on a whole new level. I’ve dabbled in reading verse novels but The Poet X definitely stands out.

Has anyone ever felt that writing a review for a 5 star book is easy? IF SO, PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR SKILLS because I am not entirely sure how or what I should even gush about because there is SO MUCH to unpack.

At it’s heart, this book pays homage to slam poetry. It is essentially Xiomara’s diary but written in verse. Through these poems, we get intimate access to her world and her thoughts. There is so much going on in Xiomara’s life as she attempts to balance all her identities. She is a twin, daughter of Dominican immigrants, a miracle child, catholic and a poet. All those identities seem to be pulling at her and stretching her thin.

Her parents expectations of her don’t align with her desires and her personal goals. This also causes friction between Xiomara and her twin because he is not treated the same way by her parents that she is. They have different expectations of him and are constantly setting them up against each other.

Xiomara wants to be kissed for the first time, she wants to fall in love, and she wants to pursue her interests, she wants to be a normal teenager but her parents make that a lot harder than it should be. Old clashes with the new as Xiomara learns how to navigate her identities in a way that allows her to be her best self.

Honestly, I don’t even know how to do justice to this book with my words. The Poet X such a poignant look at diaspora and what it’s like to be born to immigrant parents. Of course, Xiomara’s experience is only one of many out there but that doesn’t make it less valid and less moving.

I want to hug this book, cuddle it and give it to everyone because I love it so much. Some people might find aspects of this book over the top but that doesn’t mean these experiences are any less real for someone out there and I hope people will give this enthralling novel the attention it DESERVES.

5 Stars
5 Hot Espressos

Can You Read Too Many Books?

Can You Read Too Many Books?

Posted by on 03/06/2018 • 8 Comments

 

I feel like the question that is the title of this post is super loaded but I don’t know how else to really get into a question that I’ve been contemplating for a while. Which all starts with this, GOODREADS CHALLENGES.

Some people love challenging themselves to read more every year and other people don’t want to set a number for how much they are gonna read, lest they ruin it. I am somewhere in the middle? I’ve taken to setting challenges as 1 book a year for the past two years but like, here is the thing. I can set it to 1 to make myself feel good but I’ll always have another ambitious goal where I wanna read like 5,000,000 books.

The most books I’ve ever read…

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Posted by on 03/05/2018 • 0 Comments

I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?

Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?

The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes…

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Posted by on 03/04/2018 • 4 Comments

Heyyy, I am still here doing these roundups. I mean, it is only February and I still have like 10 more months to give up but I haven’t yet! These roundups tend to focus on YA and MG books because those are easiest to keep track of but I do try to include romances because I also read those and I want to make the list as thorough as possible. If I miss a book, or include one that shouldn’t be on here, let me know!!!

                   

Notes:

***The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza has an instance where a character is deadnamed

Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??

What I’ve Been Reading: February Update

What I’ve Been Reading: February Update

Posted by on 03/01/2018 • 5 Comments

January kind of flew by but I feel like February has felt like it has gone on forever. I did get a lot of reading done but at the same time, I haven’t really wanted to read in the same way I wanted to last month. That might be in part due to the fact that I’ve been stressed out all month and just need something to let up so I can breathe and read. For this upcoming month, I do hope that I will be able to go back to unhauling my backlist TBR.

I read 5 sequels in February (technically more but I am sticking to old series that I started instead of new books.) That’s one less than last month but hey February has less days so…

How to Support Diverse Books (aside from buying them)

How to Support Diverse Books (aside from buying them)

Posted by on 02/28/2018 • 2 Comments

 

Here is the thing, even though you may think that there has been a huge influx of diverse books, there really has not been. Diverse authors, especially people of color, still face many barriers when it comes to getting their books published. You can check the CCBC Publishing Stastisitics for more info. We might not always be able to buy every single diverse book that comes out (even if we will try) because our wallets aren’t infinite but there are more things we can do that also supports diverse books!

1. Request upcoming releases at your library if they don’t already have them pre-ordered. Even if you are planning on buying a copy.

Libraries are always welcome to open recommendations from patrons!

2. Check diverse books out from the library!…

Centers the White Person’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Centers the White Person’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Posted by on 02/27/2018 • 3 Comments

Here is my thing with this short collection of poems. It’s good. It’s really good. It is also extremely creative and Lovelace’s talent really shines through with the poems. The problem I had and why I don’t actually know what to rate the collection of poems is that it also felt like it was very much the narrative of a white, cishet person.

Amanda Lovelace is a white woman which explains this and I wouldn’t ask her to write from a POC perspective when she really really REALLY cannot claim those experiences. EDIT: I was informed that Amanda Lovelace is demigirl, demisexual, and demiromantic and I wrongly assumed her identity for which I apologize. She does try to not forget her non white cishet counterparts within her poems, which is appreciated…

Top 20 2000’s Pop Jams

Top 20 2000’s Pop Jams

Posted by on 02/26/2018 • 6 Comments

DON’T @ ME. I AM 2000s GARBAGE and to be honest, my top 20 is always shifting depending on my mood. Anyway, I am just gonna embrace my identity and call it a day.

The Playlist The Songs 1. All Star by Smash Mouth

This song played at every single one of my school assemblies and I still never got tired of it because HEY NOW, YOURE AN ALL STAR.

2. Hey Ya! by OutKast 3. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat tbh and it makes me feel better.

4. Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects

THIS SONG IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT AND THE MUSIC VIDEO AND I AM SO HAPPY.

5. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

Okay so if…