This is the third book I’ve read by Acevedo, though it’s the first she wrote. There’s no denying she’s a powerful writer, invoking a strong sense of place, culture, and emotions with her beautiful prose.
In this book a teenage girl finds her voice, learns to accept herself and her body, comes to terms with the differences between her and her family – it’s a complete coming of age tale told in free verse that flows as easily as water from the tap. A quick read that shouldn’t be missed (With The Fire On High is by far my favorite by this author).
From Goodreads: 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.