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. But she still 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. (Goodreads synopsis)
Let me start this review off by saying that this is definitely going to be a favorite book of the year! Books written in verse are either hit or miss for me but this was definitely a hit for me. In few words, Acevedo was able to complete tap into the feelings of a teenager dealing with body changes, family pressures, and first love.
I listened to this on audiobook and I would highly recommend consuming this book this way. I don’t imagine the slam poetry style could translate as well in print. The author reads this audiobook and it is definitely one of my favorite audiobooks I’ve listened to in a while, if not ever.
Xiomara was an excellent protagonist. She was totally believable as a teenager and I truly could relate to her feelings about familial expectations, the awkwardness of her body drawing unwanted attention, and finding her way. Her twin brother was also a great character and the sibling bond between the two was so sweet. Xiomara’s need to protect her brother and then realizing that he didn’t need her to any more was something that I could really relate to. Although the story was written in verse I found it completely cohesive and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and how Xiomara was going to navigate her way.
I usually like to think of a con to put in my reviews and no this wasn’t a perfect book but I honestly can not think of anything that completely annoyed me or turned me off. I will say again though that I don’t think that the book would have been as impactful had I not listened to the audiobook.
In the end I highly recommend this book. I will say that this is definitely for an older YA audience.
Parental Guide: mild language, mild sexual content
Have you read this book? Are you going to? Let’s talk in the comments.
FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Much Love and Thank You,