Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “X” as Want to Read:
X
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

X

by
3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,445 ratings  ·  575 reviews
Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

I am Malcolm.
I am my father’s son. But to be my father’s son means that they will always come for me.

They will always come for me, and I will always succumb.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve an
...more
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about X, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Aime' Kekla Magoon also wrote How It Went Down, which is very good, but definitely a hard read in some ways as it deals with aftermath of a neighborhood sho…moreKekla Magoon also wrote How It Went Down, which is very good, but definitely a hard read in some ways as it deals with aftermath of a neighborhood shooting. She has also written the Robin Hoodlum books (2 now) recently and they seem lighter and more fun, fast-paced adventure, but I have not read those yet. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,445 ratings  ·  575 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of X
Quirkyreader
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book free from my local library as part of the Great Michigan Read. I am rather glad that I picked it up.

One of the authors was Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcom X's children.

What resonated with me the most about this story was that I have been to many of the places that Malcom went to in the Lansing and Mason, Michigan area.

Granted this story is fact based fiction, it is a good starting point to learn about Malcom X's early life and what the culture of racism was like in the North bef
...more
Skip
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, historical
A novelization of the formative years of Malcolm X, written by the middle of his five children with Betty Shabazz and co-authored by the talented Kekla Magoon, following Malcolm from his birth in Omaha to his childhood in Flint & Lansing to his teenage years in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood and Harlem, and finally to prison. The book's strengths are its raw honesty, authentic speech, and reflections of oppression and pervasive racism, the destabilizing and destructive effects on Malcolm of a mur ...more
Monica Edinger
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fictionalized history is a tricky business. On the one hand, the past is a wealth of fascinating material for use in creating imaginary worlds. On the other hand, those doing that creating can't go wild, they must honor the historical truth the best they can, especially when they are writing about real people from not so long ago. And so we come to X: A Novel, a gritty and glorious rendering of Malcolm X's youth by his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon.
Friends tell me trouble's coming.
...more
Kelly
What an excellent read.

This is a fictionalized account of Malcolm X's youth. It's told in a few different time lines, and the way that his past informs his current situation and his future, are really woven together nicely.

Perhaps the thing that makes this most stand out, aside from how historically important the story is, is that Malcolm wasn't perfect in his youth and it comes through in the story. But it's done in a way that would be relatable to young readers especially -- people who make
...more
Laura
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this, but it was hard to read about Malcolm's life spiraling out of control for most of the book. Most of the book is him making selfish and/or bad choice one after another. Until the very end, it was a pretty hard read with little redemption.
Alex  Baugh
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
Ilyasah Shabazz, youngest daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X, has already written two books about her famous father, but now she, with Kekla Magoon, has written a fictionalized version of his youth and the circumstances that led to his conversion to the Nation of Islam. X, a novel makes for fascinating, gritty reading that once you start will be hard to put down, even if you have already read The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (yes, the author of Roots).

Almost fr
...more
Ricki
Some books just stick to our bones and X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon will remain with me forever. It kept me awake late at night, and I was floored by the captivating writing. This is a very special book and well worth the hype it has received. I plan to use it in my future Methods classes because there are so many themes and topics for discussion. Most texts are written about Malcolm Little's later life, but this book encapsulates his early years---this restless young man is dissatisfie ...more
Saige
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This was just as good the second time through as the first. Malcolm's character arc is clear and well written, especially when it gets to the end and he reflects on all that has happened to him. I appreciated the attention to detail with all the people he met and places he went, but I would have liked to see more of how all the people in his life influenced him. The use of slang from the time period was interesting, but some of it felt a little randomly dropped in. I liked reading mor ...more
Kelley
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read for "Great Michigan Read" 2018

This novel is one of the most powerful book I've read. I was born the same year that Malcolm X was assassinated. The only thing I "knew" was that he was a radical man. Wow, has my thinking changed! This novel, written by his daughter, shows the reader Malcolm's life from birth through his incarceration.

After reading the novel and seeing the struggle that the Little family lived in Lansing, I'm appalled at the behavior in the 30's and 40's. I'm appalled at the
...more
Marina
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
This is an incredible novel, it builds up slowly and falls into place at the end.

I don’t know much about Malcolm X aside from the little bit we learned in high school. I was hesitant to read a YA fictional novel based on him when I heard about it, but the fact that his daughter co-wrote it made me secure that it will be handled with care and respect.

This novel is certainly hard to read; we see racism and how it beats down and defeats young Malcolm. From when he first becomes conscious of racism
...more
Lindsay
You know, at the beginning, I wasn't totally taken by this book. Part of it might have been that the time hopping didn't work for me so much, though I appreciated its purpose, but I've also been pretty overwhelmed by the rest of my life which has provided ample distraction. However, by the time everything was going pretty much in straight chronological order, I was bummed to put it down, and by the end, it was nearly impossible to even pause reading. By the end, I was totally bowled over. Shabaz ...more
Mississippi Library Commission
X by Ilyasha Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter, and Kekla Magoon follows the life of a young Malcolm X before he became a great human rights activist. Even though this is a work of fiction, X is based on the real life of Malcolm X and his actions from boyhood until his arrest for theft at the age of 20. This is a great novel that will challenge teen readers while teaching them more about the human rights movement and the work of Malcolm X.
Madi(Licious)
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OK THIS BOOK HAS ME SHOOK!!!!!!!!
So this book was incredible I really felt it the entire way I don't know what all that passion was but it worked in the beginning when Malcom was a good old family man I was in love with his character but then he became Red and I lost that love for him but then in prison I loved him again!!!
I would recommend this to anyone mature enough to read about drugs/sex/violence/etc.
 LEAH⇢
4.5 Out Of 5 "The Pathway to X" STARS

A somewhat harsh, albeit enlightening, fictionalized history about Malcolm X.  Centering on his informative childhood to young adult years.  I learned some things and had some things laid bare for me.  The audio by Dion Graham lends a very authentic voice and is well done.
 
At the end of the story, his daughter speaks about her dad and then there is a couple chapter's telling all about what they (Shabazz and Magoon) kept true to his story and what they embelli
...more
Melissa
A historical fiction of the early adolescent life of Malcom X, when he made a lot of questionable decisions and buried a lot of grief in unproductive ways, that in all likelihood served to help transform him into the man he would later become. This story may be fiction, but it is written by his daughter, with all the conversations, history, and family letters to supply the structural facts and timeline of the story. She also does a great job at the end discussing which figures in the narrative a ...more
Carrie
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fictionalized coming-of-age of Malcolm X. It is co-authored by his middle daughter. It follows Malcolm Little from a teenager until his imprisonment. This was a Great Michigan Read and our students participated last year. Finally reading this, I cannot emphasize enough of the importance of this young adult novel. There is a reason this novel was nominated for the National Book Award (Young People) and achieved the Coretta Scott King Honor Award.
Kathy
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read 2 young people's bios of Malcolm X - Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers and a Lerner one not worth finding - but I enjoyed learning about Malcolm Little or Detroit Red. How he kept running away from everything he knew but couldn't seem to shake what he'd learned as a child. His hustling and his romantic exploits made me forget how old he was during this time. The author's note was very helpful. Great for MS or HS. ...more
Kerri
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty fascinating read. I thought the authors did a great job of bringing us into the character of Malcolm/Red and his world. The side characters were there to be just that, to be on the side to further illustrate and highlight Malcolm's character with his strengths and his weaknesses, his reasons and reactions, while at the same time showing the strengths and weaknesses of the different cultures in which he found himself. It was a different take on such a strong and widely-known per ...more
Tami
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a reader, we know what happens to Malcom Little in the end, however I enjoyed this fictional look into his young life. There are parts of this story I already knew, but I forgot how young he was when some of the life choices he made were not so great.

The author takes us back and forth through time and provides a glimpse into the internal struggle of loss and hurt young Malcom was navigating. Despite his efforts to the contrary, Malcom Little aka Red aka Detroit Red survives and goes on to co
...more
Scarlett
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Asiyah Amin
Veryyy slow read for me
Rowan Wilkinson
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think it was incredible how the author switched between time periods in order to show how the character had changed, and it did an incredible job of that. I thought the author did a great job of giving the reader the message they were trying to write by using powerful language. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys books about important historical figures or anyone who is interested in black history.
Beth
Malcolm Little's young life is fraught with heartache and tragedy. After his father's murder, his family begins to unravel, no thanks to the white officials who have cut his desperate family off of government assistance and deemed his mother an unfit parent. In addition to his family unraveling, so too do his dreams when a teacher whom Malcolm trusts discourages him from aspiring to be a lawyer, despite the fact that Malcolm is a top student and also class president. His teacher only sees his sk ...more
Jeanne-marie
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ilyasah Shabazz was not quite three years old when her father, Malcolm X, was assassinated in 1965. We know a good deal about her father due to his famous autobiography, speeches, and other writings. These, however, mostly deal with his time in prison, subsequent conversion to Islam, and later teachings, not his early years. Using Malcolm’s own works, interviews with his siblings and friends, and other sources, Shabazz crafts X, a fictionalized account of his life from ages 15-20, a time of grea ...more
Cosima
"X: A Novel" is a fictionalized account of Malcolm Little's journey to become Malcolm X. It explores the life-altering experiences and choices of young, impressionable Malcolm that led to his transformation into a renowned civil rights leader. I didn't know what to expect from this book but it's well told and gripping.

If you've ever seen the movie "Malcolm X", directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington, then you'll recognize a lot of the characters from the first part of the movie. Nev
...more
April
I listened to X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon because I feel like I really do not know a whole lot about Malcolm X, except that he was a pretty important person to the Civil Rights Movement. Read my review here ...more
Jill Adams
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jackpot.

I thought it was amazing--one of the best books I've read in awhile. I finished it last night and couldn't get to sleep afterwards...wonderful writing.

Review to come on jillsbookmark.com.
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful historical fiction about Malcolm X's early years. This novel is written by his daughter and it's a wonderful addition to any library.
Edward Sullivan
A vivid, engrossing fictionalized portrait of Malcolm X's youth.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Flint Public Libr...: February Fiction Only Book Club: X: A Novel 8 14 Feb 22, 2018 02:20PM  
DC Public Library: X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz 1 9 Sep 28, 2015 12:59PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • How It Went Down
  • The Rock and the River (The Rock and the River, #1)
  • When I Was the Greatest
  • Lion Island: Cuba's Warrior of Words
  • Fire in the Streets (The Rock and the River, #2)
  • Whale Talk
  • The Boy in the Black Suit
  • The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
  • American Street
  • Say Her Name
  • Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
  • Out of Darkness
  • Deadline
  • It Ain't So Awful, Falafel
  • The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives
  • The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
  • Indian No More
See similar books…
103 followers
Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X, is an activist, producer, motivational speaker, and the author of the critically acclaimed Growing Up X and the picture book Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X. She lives in Westchester County, New York.

Related Articles

Philippa Gregory is best known for reimagining the lives of famous royal women in bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn...
68 likes · 27 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“It seemed like a backward step at first, but now I know going back was the only way to show how far I’ve come.” 2 likes
“It’s easier, I guess, to laugh and joke and pretend that tomorrow won’t be any different from any of the days before. Easier than trying to talk about how strange it is to be part of a family and still be all alone.” 1 likes
More quotes…