Mock Printz 2023 discussion

The Poet X
This topic is about The Poet X
161 views
Mock Printz 2019 > May: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Jenna (jenna_marie58) | 86 comments What are your thoughts on this novel-in-verse? Does it live up to Printz standards?


Anne Bennett (headfullofbooks) | 81 comments I am a poetry lover and reader. If a novel is written in verse, the poetry needs to be excellent, otherwise, why not write the book in prose? As is often the case, in my mind, this poetry is nothing special. The story is very compelling, however, and since she is a X is a poet, the medium is appropriate. But personally I think the quality of the poetry will keep this book off the podium.


Mandy (mandysouthgate) | 20 comments Of all the books we read on this group, this is my favourite type where we get a glimpse into a real-world culture that is very different from my own. In terms of the writing, I was impressed with how much I connected with Xiomara - it sometimes felt like so much more than a work of fiction.

I found the verse very difficult to read and probably wouldn’t choose a book in this format again (unless it came with such high accolades as this one).

I read with interest the comment above regarding the quality of the poetry. I think I might concur - I kept waiting for us to see the poems X was reciting on stage and realise now that the verses were meant to be them. Knowing Elizabeth Acevedo is a slam poet, I interpreted the verse in the notebook to be Xiomara’s progress to growing and developing as a slam poet, but not quite there yet.

Elizabeth Acevedo opened our eyes to a new culture and explored several issues that are central to teen life but I am not sure if it is Printz-worthy on account of the verse itself.


Tegan (therowdylibrarian) | 31 comments I agree with you both. I enjoyed Xiomara's story and having read Bird of Paradise by Raquel Cepeda for my Social Justice class in grad school last semester, it reminded me a lot of that and I enjoyed getting to see more of her culture represented in YA fiction.

That being said, I agree I was expecting her poems to take form on stage, as well as hearing about her life. While I enjoyed this for what it was, other novels in verse are more powerful, Long Way Down being a prime example.

I felt in Jason Reynold's book the format made sense for the story and I was never confused as to why it was used. There were some times in The Poet X where I didn't understand why things were done they way they were.

I do look forward to seeing what they author does next, though.

After reading this, would you read another one of her novels in verse?


Robyn (robyn_bravi) I agree with Mandy, I was really hoping to read the poems X performs on stage.

I do think there's some great topics for discussion in Poet X like Xiomara's relationship with her mother, her faith (or lack of), and her relationship with herself. The novel-in-verse format was okay, but I think there was more than enough content for a novel.

I've watched a couple YouTube videos of Acevedo performing her poems, and it's clear she is extremely talented. I don't think Poet X is Printz worthy, but I do think it will still get some attention.


Jenn (jennmonk) | 42 comments Looks like I am in the minority here. I thought this book was excellent and that the format made perfect sense. We are reading Xiomara's poems, the same ones she is slamming on the stage, as we read her story. And they are moving.

Personally I am a fan of novel-in-verse, so maybe that makes me predisposed to it. Poetry speaks to teens (and lots of people) in a way that prose sometimes does not. The Poet X at the very least deserves a Printz honor or a Morris award.


Cheryl | 1 comments I really enjoyed the story line and how the author was able in so few words to develop the characters. I think my issue with the poetry was that I was not hearing the author perform it. I think this poetry was often very personal and in many different styles. I think that I had a little more trouble coming up with how it would sound and that is what slam poetry is really, a performance. This knowledge that it was meant to be performed not just read and internalized that made me feel it was more unique than some other novels in verse that I have read.


Jennifer (crookshanks71) | 23 comments Unlike the others who have commented so far, I listened to the audiobook, which is read wonderfully by the author. The format is really conducive to this content. At times I could hear the pauses between lines and really knew I was listening to poetry and at other times it almost rushed by just like prose. I do feel like I lost something by not seeing the words too, so maybe the best experience would be to read the book aloud or to follow along in print with the audiobook. It's not unusual for me to listen to an audio of something I've already read in print (though that's not the case here), so maybe some people who really enjoyed it would also enjoy rereading in audio.

As for Printz worthiness, I don't know. I gave it 5 stars, but it's so early in the year that it could easily get lost as more great books come out.


Tegan (therowdylibrarian) | 31 comments What do you think it would take for a novel-in-verse to be nominated for a Printz?

For example, Long Way Down was nominated last year. What do you think set that one apart, that this one doesn't (based on the majority of the responses) have?

Jennifer, what stuck out to you as the biggest reason this would be a Printz contender? Is it similar to the reasoning for Long Way Down or something different?


Mandy (mandysouthgate) | 20 comments Oh, I didn’t realise it was in audiobook - much less that it was narrated by the author. I think I’m going to try listen to it. I really did enjoy the story and would be interested to hear it in slam. Thanks for the suggestion Jennifer.


message 11: by Jenn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenn (jennmonk) | 42 comments Tegan wrote: "What do you think it would take for a novel-in-verse to be nominated for a Printz?

For example, Long Way Down was nominated last year. What do you think set that one apart, that this one doesn't (..."


For me, what made this one stand out was the characterization and the voice. While I truly enjoyed Long Way Down, in some ways I think The Poet X did a better job of fleshing out the side characters in the story. Everyone felt real and everyone had a voice.

The Poet X delves deeper than Long Way Down. Both are excellent reads, though.


message 12: by Jenn (last edited May 17, 2018 06:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenn (jennmonk) | 42 comments Jennifer wrote: "Unlike the others who have commented so far, I listened to the audiobook, which is read wonderfully by the author. The format is really conducive to this content. At times I could hear the pauses b..."

I have to listen to the audio now. Got to see how the author's reading of the poems compared to the poetry in my head.


Reving | 53 comments Incredible. I too, listened to it. https://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2018...


message 14: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara (tjwill) | 6 comments I love novels in verse, and this one was well done. I thought Xiomara was well-developed and very relatable. These are strong reasons why it could be a contender. I agree that sometimes books early in the year get lost by the end, which I hope doesn’t happen here. I’m going to look for some videos of Acevedo’s poetry now.


Tegan (therowdylibrarian) | 31 comments Has anyone that read it had a chance to listen to it as an audiobook? Curious to hear your comparison!


Mandy (mandysouthgate) | 20 comments I’ve not been able to because the Audiobook isn’t available in the UK (even though the book is!)


Sarah | 42 comments Mandy wrote: "Oh, I didn’t realise it was in audiobook - much less that it was narrated by the author. I think I’m going to try listen to it. I really did enjoy the story and would be interested to hear it in sl..."
the audio is excellent....


Sarah | 4 comments I think Xiomara's story is well told. I liked the specificity of her mother's Catholicism and that, in the end, Xiomara realized that she could turn to her priest even though she was questioning what he was teaching. I really liked that her friend was supportive even though they had different priorities and ways of approaching life.


Tegan (therowdylibrarian) | 31 comments For those of you that don't think this was up to Printz calibre, what do you think the author could change/add/etc. to change that?


Tatiana (tatiana_g) | 54 comments I am a little late to the discussion, because I had been waiting for the audio version to be available at my library. It was definitely worth the wait. Acevedo read it wonderfully. But I am struggling to call her writing poetry. To me it sounded like excellent prose. I generally can't quite get used to the whole idea of calling "free verse" (that doesn't rhyme) poetry.

I actually liked The Poet X much more than Long Way Down. This is a much richer, fuller story, IMO.

The only thing that bothered me a lot was the resolution. The way Xiomara's conflict with her mother ended was too easy. I really dislike when forgiveness is given for things pretty unforgivable. Her mom didn't bother to even apologize for any of her actions. And everything is hunky-dory now.


Tegan (therowdylibrarian) | 31 comments Tatiana wrote: "I am a little late to the discussion, because I had been waiting for the audio version to be available at my library. It was definitely worth the wait. Acevedo read it wonderfully. But I am struggl..."

I agree with you on the ending! It wrapped up too nicely and was just too easy.


message 22: by Jenn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenn (jennmonk) | 42 comments I just finished the audio and I was blown away! It made me want to do slam. Also, I noticed the themes and motifs more when listening than I had when reading. Still one of my top Printz possibilities.


Tegan (therowdylibrarian) | 31 comments Jennifer wrote: "I just finished the audio and I was blown away! It made me want to do slam. Also, I noticed the themes and motifs more when listening than I had when reading. Still one of my top Printz possibilities."

I really need to listen to it! That's so awesome that you had such a different experience listening to it!


Jenna (jenna_marie58) | 86 comments I loved this one! I thought the writing was strong, X was a fully realized character, and the elements of girlhood/ bodies/ sex, family, and religion felt real. I think it's worth talking about at the Printz table, but I'm not sure if it will make the ultimate cut. This is ultimately X's story, so maybe this can be overlooked, but I wanted to know Twin and Caridad more. I also felt the resolution was a bit hasty and tidy. But as a whole, I thought it was really well done and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


message 25: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Bennett (headfullofbooks) | 81 comments Jenna wrote: "I loved this one! I thought the writing was strong, X was a fully realized character, and the elements of girlhood/ bodies/ sex, family, and religion felt real. I think it's worth talking about at ..."
Many have commented that the audiobook is so good, with the reading of the poetry in slam style. Unfortunately the Printz does not evaluate the audio versions of books. Perhaps this one will win the Odyssey Award, which goes to best audiobooks for children/teens.


message 26: by Desiree (new)

Desiree | 8 comments I loved this story. It made sense to me that Xiamora wouldn't perform her poetry until the end. She spends so much of her days trying to hide her body and her thoughts. I thought the story read like a private diary, where X was free to actually be honest about how she felt. I read it in one sitting and loved the complex relationships explored in the story.


Bang Bang Books First of all, I don't know anything about poetry so I can't comment on it.

I do think this will be a serious contender and could win because of the voice and themes. Acevedo purposely excluded X's poems during all her performances which is a great discussion starter. Perhaps her performances were the poems that she "didn't say."


back to top