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Xiomara is a high school sophomore who lives with her twin brother, who she calls Twin, and her Mami and Papi, who are an older couple that came to the US from the Dominican Republic. Xiomara's Mami is old fashioned and religious, so she pushes Xiomara to devote her life to God, but Xiomara has questions and uses her writing as a way to seek answers. She begins to notice boys, and she knows that her Mami will see this as a sin, so when she starts spending time with Aman, she hides it from Mami. At the same time, Xiomara's teacher has asked her to join a writing club because she sees potential in the work Xiomara turns in for class. Xiomara would like to go, but knows that this is another thing Mami will not approve of. How long can Xiomara hide who she really is?

Poet X is written in verse which is a style of writing that I will probably never be very comfortable with, but it does tell a modern tale of family life. The contrast between what Xiomara wants versus what her Mami wants for her is sharply drawn, showing questionable decisions made by both characters that cause pain for the entire family. With neither character willing to give in, a boiling over point is inevitable. The strength of this novel is in its unwillingness to back down on issues of religion and family, however it does fail in addressing other social issues raised in the book. Overall, Poet X is a well written, thought provoking story told in a writing style that is enjoyable for many but off-putting for some.

labraden's rating:
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