Rachel Fuller | A story that will stay with you

Rachel Fuller | A story that will stay with you


Elizabeth Acevedo's bestselling young adult novel "The Poet X" follows Xiomara Batista, a young girl in Harlem who feels unheard but is yearning to develop her own voice. Her voice, she finds, can be hard to share while also living with(in) the expectations of family.

When Xiomara's twin brother gifts her a blank notebook on their birthday, she begins writing and doesn't stop. Her notebook gives her a place to express herself and document the way she sees and experiences the world — even if her devoutly Catholic mother wouldn't agree with the ways Xiomara sees the world or the decisions she makes.

Not too long after receiving her notebook, Xiomara develops feelings for her science lab partner, Aman, and learns that her brother also has a relationship of which their parents won't approve.

Xiomara then receives an invitation to join her school's slam poetry club, but joining would mean sharing her story with someone other than Aman or her brother (whom she calls Twin).

Xiomara must decide whether she wants to share her story more openly and — if so — whether she is willing to upset her mother in doing so.

A novel in verse, Elizabeth Acevedo's "The Poet X" conveys Xiomara's story with grace and grit and stays with the reader long after the final page. One of the best books I've read so far this year, I've also got Acevedo's next book, "With the Fire on High," on my to-read list, even though it won't be out until next summer.

Full disclosure: the Urbana Free Library will be hosting Elizabeth Acevedo, a poet, national slam champion and bestselling author for a poetry reading and book signing at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26 in Lewis Auditorium.

Her visit marks the kickoff literature event for Pygmalion 2018 and is sponsored by the Urbana Free Library Foundation.

Copies of "The Poet X" can be borrowed from the library or purchased in advance of Acevedo's visit for $12.

Rachel Fuller is the director of adult and youth services at the Urbana Free Library. She enjoys traveling, knitting, running and sampling all manner of coffees and teas.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (1):Books