Showing posts with label Young Adult Novel in Verse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adult Novel in Verse. Show all posts

Monday, August 28, 2023

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo


Genre: Young Adult, Novel in Verse
Source: I own a copy

This was an excellent book.  Xiomara and her twin are opposites. Their mother favors "Twin", Xiomara's brother. He goes to a school for the gifted.  Xiomara has spent her entire life looking out for her brother, fighting his battles for him.  How do you survive when it seems no one knows you exist?  you write poetry.  Xiomara's mother speaks limited English. To make matters worse, she never wanted to get married, she wanted to be a nun. This makes life more difficult for Xiomara. She is required to go to confirmation classes. She isn't even sure what she believes about God. She  has ignored the boys who like to make comments about her larger, curvy body.  Aman is the first boy she has given any attention to. But she isn't allowed to do anything except go to church.  She learns about performance poetry from her English teacher, who sees something special in her. She avoids the invitations to join the poetry club because it doesn't fall into line with her mom's church life.  But just because her mom wouldn't agree doesn't mean that she can't write poetry. That is what she does until  her mom takes that away. Something breaks inside and it will take someone her mother trusts to help mend their family.  

I love this book.  I would recommend it to high school students because of some of the more mature themes.

Monday, November 21, 2022

A Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Genre: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Novel in Verse
Source: I purchased a copy

This is one of those books that grabs you in the beginning and won't let go. Will is outside his apartment with his best friend when a shooting occurs. From the time he was young, he has been taught what to do. If you hear shots, you "eat the pavement." After a few minutes, he stands up to see who the unlucky person is, only to discover it is his brother. Another thing he is taught is you never cry. He takes his mother back inside, where she numbs herself the way she always does. Finally, he goes to the room he shared with his brother. He looks through his brother's drawer until he finds the gun his brother has. He slides it under his pillow. The third rule of the code he has grown up with is you kill the person who killed your loved one. The next morning Will puts the gun in the back of his pants and gets on the elevator to take care of business. When the elevator stops on each floor, someone from his past gets on and talks with him, his uncle, his dad, and others. They each have advice for him. All of these are people who have died. The question we read to find an answer to is, on this long way down, would he listen to them?

My heart broke for the character losing his brother the way he did. It broke even more, knowing that so many young people live this very life. I had a student many years ago who told me he had not done his homework because they had several drive-by shootings that night. He said his biggest fear was getting struck by a bullet while sitting in his room. This is a quick read since it is written in verse. I am not sure how I feel about the ending. If you want to know what I am referring to you need to read the book.